Elevated Foods Receives $20M in USDA Funding to Transform US Produce Industry

Newport Beach, CA – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program has announced a groundbreaking $20 million investment in Elevated Foods, providing an incredible accelerant for achieving its vision to elevate the nation’s food system.  The remarkable grant will enable Elevated Foods to fast track its efforts to restore and regenerate agricultural lands, while producing more nutrient dense fruits and vegetables.

“Elevated Foods was founded to increase the health of our planet and its people, and this project does exactly that,” said Founder and CEO Steve Brazeel. “We’re overjoyed to expand our work in supporting our nation’s fruit and vegetable farmers in producing and marketing healthy, safe, affordable, and sustainable climate-smart crops. The resounding endorsement of USDA – through its investment of $20 million – will help to usher in greater transparency to the fresh produce supply chain and return more profit to the farmers growing our food.” 

One of a select number of successful applicants for federal funding nationwide, Elevated joins a portfolio of projects supported with a historic $2.8 billion investment from USDA to propel the expansion of markets for climate-smart commodities.  Climate smart practices include cover cropping, water management, low-till/no-till, and nutrient management, among others, with a goal of conserving and protecting our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water. 

The announcement of funding to Elevated was celebrated in person by Robert Bonnie, USDA’s

Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Programs, and Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California at an event held at Solutions for Urban Agriculture’s Harvest Solutions Farm at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, CA. 

The event highlighted the project as a flagship effort of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart

Commodities program. Over the next five years, Elevated Foods will support fruit and vegetable

producers in implementing climate-smart production practices; measuring, monitoring, and verifying the carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits associated with the implementation of these practices; and develop markets to promote fruit and vegetable crops as climate-smart commodities, expanding access to healthy and nutritious foods to a broad spectrum of customers and underserved communities. 

Elevated Foods will execute this project in partnership with a number of organizations including:

California Department of Food and Agriculture; Solutions for Urban Ag; World Wildlife Fund; University of Arizona; International Fresh Produce Association; AgLaunch; Soil Health Academy; Understanding Ag; and the California Association of Food Banks; among others. 

Mr. Brazeel continued, “We believe our food system is at a critical inflection point.  Consumers and commercial purchasers are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from, and how it was produced.  Farmers are eager to meet this demand, however existing production systems and distribution channels don’t afford access to bring these products to market profitably. Elevated Foods is the brand that supports farmers, making healthy and responsibly sourced foods accessible to all.”

The Elevated Foods project will engage hundreds of farms and several hundred thousand acres of working land with climate-smart production practices to provide more than a half million metric tons of carbon sequestration over the life of this project. 

About Elevated Foods

Elevated Foods is a mission-driven company formed to bring transparency to the fresh produce supply chain and return more profit to the farmers growing our food, while increasing the health of people and planet. Elevated Foods, a for-profit minority-owned business with relationships with hundreds of fruit and vegetable producers, partners with family-owned farms to reposition their operations by providing needed support services; allowing them to meet increasing demand from consumers who want to know where their food comes from. By offering retailers, foodservice distributors, and processors an entire portfolio of fresh fruits and vegetables that exceed stated goals for compliance with purchasing targets, Elevated aims to become the go-to source for purchasers.