A food bank volunteer packs a box of food.

Continuing its ongoing efforts to support a resilient, secure local food supply chain in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito administration on Oct. 28 announced $5.9 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for residents across the state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding is being awarded as part of the fourth round of the $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, created following recommendations from the COVID-19 Command Center’s Food Security Task Force.

With this fourth round of grants, the program will have awarded a total of $17.7 million.

The goal of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program is to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have equitable access to food, especially local food. The program also seeks to ensure that farmers, fishermen and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply and distribution disruption.

The fourth round of the grant program includes 47 awards for a total of $5,895,554 to fund investments in technology, equipment, capacity and other assistance to help local food producers, especially in the distribution of food insecure communities. When evaluating the applications, considerations included equity, economic impact and need, sustainability and scalability of efforts, and ability to support producer readiness to accept federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Healthy Incentives Program benefits.

Eligible grantees include entities that are part of the Massachusetts local food system, including production, processing and distribution, the emergency food distribution network, Buy Local, community and food organizations, school meal programming, urban farms and community gardens, nonprofits, and organizations that provide business planning, technical assistance and information technology services.

The Request for Responses for project proposals closed on Sept. 15. Applications submitted before the proposal deadline will continue to be evaluated for future rounds of funding.