USDA Grants Available

Funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program targets food deserts to increase locally grown products offered through the country.

| June 17, 2011

  • A farmer's market.
    A farmer's market. Locke
  • Pointing the way to the local farmer's market.
    Pointing the way to the local farmer's market. Moore

  • A farmer's market.
  • Pointing the way to the local farmer's market.

Washington, D.C. – Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced approximately $10 million in funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to help increase availability of local agricultural products in communities throughout the country.

“These grants will put resources into rural and urban economies to create and support direct marketing opportunities for farmers” said Merrigan. “Consumer and farmer enthusiasm for direct marketing has never been greater. This year we will place emphasis on food deserts because America’s low income and underserved communities need greater access to healthy, fresh food.”

Information on how to apply for a FMPP grant was published in the June 1, 2011, Federal Register, and posted to the AMS website.

FMPP deadline requirements have changed. This year complete applications must be received – not postmarked – by AMS no later than close of business on July 1, 2011. Applications received after the deadline – and incomplete applications – will not be considered.

In fiscal year 2011, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will competitively award grants to projects that develop producer-to-consumer market outlets, including but not limited to farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and road-side stands. Priority status will be granted to those projects that expand healthy food choices in food deserts. AMS will continue to target 10 percent of grant funding toward new electronic benefits transfer projects at farmers markets.

USDA, in coordination with the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, seeks to eliminate food deserts in the United States by increasing access to fresh, healthy and affordable food choices for all Americans, while expanding market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Through a suite of funding options, the federal partners are targeting food deserts, or areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious foods in urban, rural and tribal neighborhoods. Earlier this year, USDA’s Economic Research Service released a Food Desert Locator tool online. The Food Desert Locator is an Internet-based mapping tool that pinpoints the location of food deserts around the country and provides data on population characteristics of census tracts where residents have limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. To use the Locator, visit the website.

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