Is your town planning to organize a farmer’s market or a roadside stand in the works for your ag coop? Is a community-supported agriculture program part of your farm’s agenda?
If you answered yes to any of the above, financial help is available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program. March 24 is the last day to submit applications for the program’s grants.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program was created through a recent amendment of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976. The grants aim to help improve and expand domestic farmer’s markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Approximately $1 million is allocated for 2008, with the requirement that the maximum amount awarded for any one proposal cannot exceed $75,000. Entities eligible to apply include agricultural cooperatives, local governments, nonprofit corporations, public health corporations, economic development corporations, regional farmers' market authorities and tribal government.
'The Farmers Market Promotion Program is a great opportunity to help producers and communities cover some of the start-up costs of establishing a local farmer’s market or other form of direct marketing of agricultural commodities from producers to consumers,” says Mike Heavrin, cooperative development manager at the Center for Rural Affairs. “These projects and farmer’s markets are good for communities, bringing farmers and consumers together to create a stronger local economy and providing consumers with fresh, affordable produce.'
For more information on the Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants and how to apply, visit the Web site, www.AMS.USDA.gov/FMPP, or contact the Center for Rural Affairs at www.CFRA.org.