March 1, 2010
USDA published a notice of $5 million in grant funds available through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) in today’s March 1 edition of the Federal Register. NSAC and the Wallace Center developed this program and NSAC championed it in the 2002 Farm Bill.
FMPP grants vary in size from $2,500 to $100,000 and do not require a match. Competition for the funds may be intense so we encourage applicants to take advantage of two new tools available this year, the FMPP Pre-Application Guide for 2010 and a FMPP grant-writing PowerPoint presentation.
Proposals are due on April 15, 2010 and late applications will not be considered. Access an application packet.
FMPP is designed to increase direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities and has funded more than 200 projects since 2006. The 2008 Farm Bill added a provision that at least 10 percent of FMPP funds be spent each year to increase low-income consumers’ access to farmers markets by equipping markets with electronic benefit transfer machines (EBT) that can accommodate SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamp) sales.
This year’s FMPP application emphasizes several priorities including bringing new farmers into direct marketing venues and improving access to local food in under-served rural communities. These priorities harmonize with USDA’s Know Your Farmer Know Your Food effort that uses existing programs to strengthen regional food systems and knowledge between producers and consumers. They also fit nicely with the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative designed to eliminate childhood obesity in this generation by increasing knowledge and access to affordable, nutritious food and encouraging more exercise. Both administration efforts reflect a new, multidisciplinary approach that links improving health with strengthening local food economies.