February 5, 2015
Interested in applying for federal funding to develop, improve, or expand a farmers market, community supported agriculture (CSA), other direct-to-consumer marketing outlet, or a local and regional food enterprise like a food hub, distributor, aggregator, processor, wholesaler, or shared-use kitchen? Not sure how to get your application started or feeling stuck in the application process?
Learn how to develop and submit your federal grant application for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) at one of dozens of grant assistance workshops around the country organized by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), in partnership with the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) Project. USDA announced on January 27 and again on February 4, that grant assistance workshops for applicants to FMLFPP are currently available in 44 states and the District of Columbia between late February and late April – with more workshops to be added soon.
A list of upcoming grant workshop dates and locations can be found on the AMSTA workshops page. Some of the workshop sessions will be recorded and available for online viewing.
NIFA is coordinating the workshops through the Regional Rural Development Centers, with the joint AMS/NIFA national training project being led by Dr. Stephan J. Goetz of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development at Penn State University. Cooperative Extension System educators will provide the trainings.
With $30 million authorized annually by the 2014 Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) through fiscal year 2018, AMS’s Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program awards competitive grants to develop and expand market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. FMLFPP is an expanded version of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), a competitive grants program authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill with the aim of increasing and strengthening direct producer-to-consumer marketing channels. Both programs were developed and championed by NSAC.
FMLFPP funds direct-to-consumer marketing strategies as well as local and regional food business enterprises that act as intermediaries between producers and consumers by aggregating, storing, processing, and/or distributing locally or regionally produced food products to meet market demand.
In September 2014, USDA announced the inaugural round of FMLFPP grantees, 372 organizations in 49 states and the District of Columbia who received over $27 million in grant awards.
These grants help farmers, food and agriculture-related businesses, and communities alike by fostering innovative marketing strategies and partnerships, boosting economic growth, and creating greater access to local and regional foods.
As an example of the difference FMLFPP is making, USDA highlighted in its workshop announcement an FMPP grant to NSAC member organization Delta Land & Community of Almyra, Arkansas, which helped to improve sales at two existing certified locally-grown farmers markets and to establish two new farmers markets. The project involved a series of on-farm and in-market training programs for market managers, new farmers and vendors. With the help of FMPP funds, the project boosted sales from $300,000 at two seasonal farmers markets to $1.556 million at four seasonal markets and one year-round market.
To stay up to date on FMLFPP and other USDA programs supporting local and regional food systems, please sign up under Stay Connected on our home page.
For the schedule of upcoming grant assistance workshops for FMLFPP, see the AMSTA website. For details about the upcoming workshops, contact your State representative(s), listed on the State trainers page of the AMSTA website.