The Farmplate Blog

Federal Funding Coming for Farmers' Markets

FarmPlate Mar 02, 2010 News 2 comments

The USDA's Know Your Famer, Know Your Food initiative has earmarked $5 million in funding from the 2010 Farmers' Market Promotion Program for grants to develop new farmers' markets and enhance existing markets, roadsides stands and CSA programs as part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign.

Union Square Farmers Market1USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the grant funding on a visit to New York City last Thursday, where she said, "The benefits of direct-to-consumer marketing are two-fold. Consumers are provided with fresh, healthy, affordable and locally grown products, while meeting the farmers that produce it. Farmers, on the other hand, are able to expand their economic opportunities and grow their incomes."

The grants are an effort to reduce what the first lady has labeled as “food deserts,” areas in the country that don’t have access to healthy foods from supermarkets or farmers' markets.

According to the USDA, there are 5,274 farmers' markets in the country. This figure marks a 13 percent increase in farmers' markets since 2008. Despite this increase, there are still many areas nationwide that do not have farmers markets. Click on the Local Foods tab then select "Farmers' Markets" on the USDA Economic Research Service's recently launched Food Environment Atlas for a visual representation of the so-called "food deserts."

The goal for the 2010 grants is three-fold: to recruit new farmers to participate in direct-to-consumer sales, to develop professional expertise for managers to improve the organization and operation of farmers' markets, and to broaden access to healthy, farm-fresh foods in underserved regions of the country.

The $5 million allocated for the 2010 grants is just the kick-start for the program. An additional $10 million will be provided for both 2011 and 2012. The grant program is part of the Farmers Market Promotion Program, which was created through a recent amendment of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976.

Groups eligible to apply for a grant include agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, local governments, nonprofit corporations, public benefit corporations, economic development corporations, regional farmers' market authorities and Tribal governments. Each approved application could receive a grant up to a maximum of $100,000.

Applications can be submitted until April 14. For more information about how to apply for a grant, see the Farmers Market Promotion Program webpage.

More National News

Feb. 24: Hellmann’s announced its Light Mayonnaise will be made using cage-free eggs. PR Newswire

Feb. 24: The Washington state company Jackie’s Jersey Milk is recalling raw milk because it may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Associated Press

Feb. 24: SK Foods, one of the country’s largest tomato processors, has been involved in a bribery scheme that has compromised food safety. New York Times

Regional News

Feb. 26: Green Mountain Coffee is donating $10,000 to support South Burlington School District’s Wellness and Resiliency Program. Vermont Business Magazine

Feb. 25:  The Vermont Senate voted to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant because of radioactive leaks. New York Times

Feb. 24: The Vermont House of Representatives is considering a bill that will tax “non-nutritional” foods. VPR

Comments (2)

Anonymous's picture
by Anonymous
Mar 02, 2010

we really need that funding in this area we do have a market but because of lack of funds we cannot promote it too well, I copy recipes and give out handouts and seeds etc to promote growing their own food but it sure would be great to get some funding

Anonymous's picture
by Anonymous
Mar 02, 2010

I am 55 years old and currently under the transition to organic program but really would like to see about any grant there may be out there to open up my own farm stand I am disabled and on SSD and I really want to do this I can still plant and harvest and sell but it would easier for me to sell from home so that I can still sell produce to those that normally cannot afford organic thank you Catherine (cate ) mcLoud