September 29, 2016
Local and regional food systems are expanding nationwide; supporting job growth in agriculture, revitalized rural and urban communities and increased consumer access to healthy sustainable local food and farm products.
Developing markets for local and regionally produced food – building connections between farmers and consumers is no small task. That’s why the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) operates the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), a farm bill program that provides grants annually on a competitive basis for a wide spectrum of direct-to-consumer and local and regional food marketing projects.
This week the USDA awarded over $26 million in FMLFPP grants to nonprofits, community based organizations, farmer co-ops, private businesses and local governments for more than 100 direct-to-consumer and local food marketing projects.
For administrative purposes FMLFPP is divided into two sub-programs: 1) the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). This week’s announcement included 50 FMPP awards totaling more than $13.4 million and 52 LFPP awards totaling more than $13.4 million.
The FMPP subprogram supports projects such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, roadside stands, pick-your own operations and agritourism. LFPP‘s focus is on processing, distribution, aggregation, storage and marketing of locally or regionally produced food products sold through intermediated marketing channels.
Over the past decade, local and regional food systems have experienced tremendous growth. Since 2006 farmers markets have shot up by 180 percent, regional food hubs have expanded by 288 percent, in part due to investments made by the USDA through programs like FMLFPP.
We are pleased to report that five National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) member organizations received FMPP project awards and one member received an LFPP project award.
Food Hub Project
NSAC member Wallace Center at Winrock International, received a $500,000 award to support the expansion of regional food economies through a number of risk mitigation strategies aimed at helping growers and food businesses participate in and develop effective supply chains.
“The Mitigating Risk in Food Value Chains program will reduce the risk of business operations for local producers, food hubs, and other Good Food entrepreneurs nationwide by providing accessible and relevant technical assistance and supporting the expansion of peer practitioner support networks,” said Wallace Center Director John Fisk.
With LFPP support Wallace Center’s Mitigating Risk in Food Value Chains project will provide capacity building training and technical assistance to start-up food hubs, support the increased financial management capacity for existing food hubs, continue their food hub benchmark work to develop national baseline data, and support the effective use of USDA’s new Group GAP Audit program as marketing and risk mitigation strategy.
While Wallace Center was the only NSAC member to receive an LFFP award, the following LFPP awards are among the many noteworthy projects:
FMPP Awards to NSAC Members
The following NSAC member organizations received direct marketing project awards:
A full list of the FY16 FMPP awards can be found here. A full list of the FY16 LFFP awards can be found here. Learn more about the FMLFPP grant program and additional grant opportunities by visiting the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service’s webpage here.