Q and A from LASA Technical Assistance Session Jan. 20, 2016

We had a great turnout at the Jan. 20 LASA Technical Assistance Session. The next session is a special “Flash Feedback” session in partnership with Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Tuesday, February 2. Space is limited and registrants are required to come prepared (please click here for details and registration).

Please read on for the Questions and Answers from the 1/20/16 LASA TA Session:

  1. Q: Referring to the footnote with definition for small farmer (see LASA priorities) if you are a coop of several businesses, does that definition apply?
    • A: No, that number is for a single farmer or farm business. If you are applying as a cooperative the definition won’t apply to you but, for example, if there are farmers or members of that coop who would be considered small farmers, do include it in the application that we are a coop but some of the individuals would meet this definition of a small farmer.
    • A: Also note that the priorities included either small OR beginning farmers, and the definition for beginning farmer is 10 years or less, so either one is also important to note if, in the coop example, you had members who met the definition for beginning farmers.
  2. Q: On Question 2 you ask for applicants to select the sector. Do you want a certain number of recipients from each sector?
    • A: No, but the goal is to support across the system so the Committee will include that as part of the decision. They don’t want to only be funding one category. The scoring is used as the main criteria and the secondary are things like geography, sector, structure.
  3. Q: If you do not get a grant this year can you reapply next year?
    • A: Absolutely, especially given competitiveness of program. We have had things like that happen – for example an applicant was not successful one year but then the second year they were further along in the process and their application was funded.
  4. Q: Can you explain how we determine estimated time d completion time (#9 length of project)
    • A: This question is basically to give the committee an idea of the amount of time your project will take. They want to know is this realistic and is the amount of money appropriate for what you want to do. Keep in mind, funding would be released most likely July or August so we would not suggest a start date before that unless you plan on pre-work that does not require funding.
  5. Q: What if we are awarded a LASA grant and afterward the budget changes?
    • A: We usually say if budget changes more than 10% from what was proposed, you basically send an email to Ken Ayars and give idea of what was proposed, what was changed, and new proposed budget, and usually that will be approved if the goals of the project are pretty much the same.
  6. Q: What if you are applying with partners, how do we answer question #11 (Background, information about primary applicant)?
    • A: Not on q11 which is just the bio about the applicant so you would answer about yourself if you are the primary applicant.
  7. Q: Is LASA looking for a report to close grant at end?
    • A: There is a midterm report and a final report due. Right now we are tweaking format but trying to boil it down to 3 questions: 1) what trying to accomplished, 2) what worked or was successful, 3) what challenging and lessons learned from it?
    • A: We want people to be able to learn from LASA and share those lessons learned. It’s a relatively new program so what we are trying to figure out is how to share. If you have an idea of how you could share lessons learned like a conference or network meeting you would want to share your project, mention it in the application as well
  8. Q: Further explanation on question 12, or the other resources
    • A: For example, if you know you’re going to have 10 volunteers helping construct something, saying I have 10 people committed is important to put there, and if you know value of what is being committed, put it there as well. It doesn’t get calculated into what you are asking for, but it is helpful for Committee to know that this is core part of project but we have other commitments that will help round it out.
  9. Q: What if you have a quote, should you include that in answer to question 12 about how resources will be used?
    • A: Yes even if just a quote you can say I have quote from this dealer or this website and it lets the Committee know you have put some legwork into this.
  10. Q: Can municipalities apply for LASA?
    • A: Yes, for example last year the City of Providence applied. A municipality can apply but not for capital projects (ex cannot fund a renovation of a municipal building).
  11. Q: Is being a little repetitive in our answers ok?
    • A: Yes, my guess is there will be some overlap with some questions and that’s ok.
  12. Q: Are the priorities for this year different from previous years?
    • A: They are same as last year, but changed from first year. Each year we get the LASA Committee together to look at the priorities. The Committee has pretty broad expertise across the food system. The idea behind the Committee is, collectively, there is a good amount of knowledge in there. Priorities are re-evaluated every year. If you have a suggestion for a priority area you think is important, it’s something we would love to know for next year.
  13. Q: How many projects can you apply for? As a sole proprietor can I put in an application for a building or fencing separately?
    • A: Technically it’s not stated in the rules so you could put more than one in
    • A: One of the things I would really encourage is if you are looking for a piece of equipment or something, really think about how that application would distinguish itself from others looking for a similar or same thing. Try to think about the way this application could be different from others, think about whether the way you are going to do it is different, or if you are going to share it with other people, or any other things that can really set the application apart from the group. And that is what priority area #2 was trying to get at as well – new ways of working together, new ways of sharing info.
  14. Q: Can I put an application in for two different organizations I represent? For example, one for my nonprofit I am on the board of and one for an organization I work for?
    • A: Yes
  15. Q: When do you find out the status of your application?
    • A: Notifications probably will happen in mid-April and the public release of the grantees will likely happen on Agriculture Day, which we think will be around the end of April at the Statehouse. After this announcement, we contact awardees and get grant agreements. Once these are signed, 100% of funds are released. Goal is to get funds out as soon as we can.

TIP: Use the rubric when putting together your application and think to yourself: if I didn’t know this project, what would I think of it, or ask a friend to read application and use rubric, think about what questions are not clear or whether you are specifically getting at what the Committee is asking.

TIP: If you are talking about a new product or sales channel, letting the Committee know anything around expectations of who is going to buy it, or sales channels, or that you already have a sales outlet somewhere who said if you have this product I will buy x amount.

 

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