NSAC's Blog


New Funding Available for Local and Regional Food Systems

March 10, 2016


Veggies at Corvallis Farmers Market, Oregon. Photo credit: Friends of Family Farmers

Veggies at Corvallis Farmers Market, Oregon. Photo credit: Friends of Family Farmers

APPLICATION DEADLINE is this week – 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 12, 2016

Local and regional food systems are expanding nationwide. These systems create new economic opportunities for small and mid-sized family farmers, increase consumer access to fresh and healthy food, and improve rural livelihoods.

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, and school district participation in farm to school programs has increased by 430 percent.

On Wednesday March 9 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) announced the availability of over $26 million in grant funding to support the continued growth of this sector.

AMS is now accepting applications for over $26 million in grant funding to strengthen local and regional food systems through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP).

Jump to:

Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program

FMLFPP provides grants on a competitive basis for a wide spectrum of direct-to-consumer and local food marketing projects.

AMS’ announcement marks the third round of FMLFPP grant funding made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. FMLFPP and its predecessor program, FMPP, are programs that the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has championed for over a decade.

The 2014 Farm Bill provided $30 million a year in mandatory funding for FMLFPP, most of which is distributed as competitive grants through two programs: $13 million for direct marketing grants through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and $13 million for local and regional food marketing grants through the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).

The FMPP subprogram supports projects such as farmers markets, 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.

Note: AMS divides the program into two subprograms with two unique Request for Applications (RFAs), despite the fact that Congress authorized FMLFPP as a single, integrated program. NSAC has repeatedly encouraged AMS to create a more integrated approach that does not continue to pretend that Congress authorized two separate programs, but to date those entreaties have not resulted in a change in practice.

Applications for both the FMPP and LFPP subprograms must be submitted electronically through www.Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 12, 2016.

To see examples of FY15 projects click here.

Changes in the FY16 RFA

AMS included NSAC’s recommendation to refine the focus of the program to better align with Congressional intent that it benefit farmers and ranchers. This was done through changes to Project Evaluation Criteria, which now makes it clearer that projects must benefit farmers and ranchers and provide evidence of existing community support and engagement.

Another noteworthy change was the inclusion in the RFA of a new requirement that all applicants must report on a set of standard performance measures. This requirement rightly reflects ongoing trends and best practices in the world of grant making.

NSAC is also pleased that the RFA has adopted the standard definition of “locally or regionally produced agricultural food product,” originally introduced in the 2008 Farm Bill.

Further highlights of and key changes specific to each FMLFPP subprograms are provided in the following subsections.

Farmers Market Promotion Program Grant:

FMPP offers two distinct types of grants: Capacity Building and Community Development, Training and Technical Assistance Projects. For Capacity Building projects, the minimum award is has been raised to $50,000 and the maximum awards has been raised to $250,000. For Community Development, Training and Technical Assistance projects the minimum grant award has increased to $250,000 and maximum award increased to $500,000. There is no matching requirement for the FMPP subprogram.

The award period duration for both FMPP Capacity Building projects and Community Development, Training and Technical Assistance projects is 36 months. Projects are expected to end by September 29, 2019.

Applicants may submit project proposals for both FMPP and LFPP. If selected for both awards, applicants may accept one FMPP and one LFPP award under the 2016 RFA.

More information about applying for FMPP, including the 2016 RFA, is available through the AMS website. 

Local Food Promotion Program:

LFPP offers Planning Grants and Implementation Grants. Similar to the FMPP subprogram, LFPP minimum and maximum award sizes have increased. For planning projects, the minimum is now $25,000 and the maximum $100,000. For Implementation projects, the minimum is now $100,000 and the maximum $500,000.

Unlike FMPP, LFPP does require a 25 percent cash or in-kind match. Unfortunately, the 2016 RFA does not include NSAC’s recommendation that the 25 percent cash or in-kind matching requirement be tied to the total grant amount, and not the total project cost.

Note that the award period durations for LFPP have changed ­– planning projects can now be for up to 18 months, terminating by March 31, 2018*, and Implementation projects can now be awarded for up to 36 months, terminating by September 29, 2019.

Applicants may submit project proposals for both FMPP and LFPP. If selected for both awards, applicants may accept one FMPP and one LFPP award under the 2016 RFA.

(*The official RFA has an error and incorrectly states March 31, 2017 as the end of the period for planning projects, USDA staff has confirmed that it is March 2018, not 2017.)

Webinars and Additional Information

In order to help prospective applicants navigate the process for applying for FMLFPP, AMS will host a webinar on March 24, 2016 at 2 p.m. EST. You can register for the webinar at this link. In addition, AMS will host a two webinars on applying for grants through www.grants.gov on March 22 (registration link) and March 29 (registration link), both at 2 p.m. EST.

Additional grant writing workshops will be held through the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) Project. Please visit www.amsta.net to see if training is scheduled in your area.

More information about applying for AMS grants, including FMLFPP, is available through the AMS website.


Categories: General Interest, Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems


8 responses to “New Funding Available for Local and Regional Food Systems”

  1. Joanne Littau says:

    What is the number or do we use FMPP?
    Thank you.
    Joanne Littau
    Four Seasons Farmers and Artisans Market
    Wheat Ridge, Colorado

  2. Wes King says:

    Hi Joanne: I am not totally clear on what you are asking for in your comment “What is the number or do we use FMPP?” If you could provide a little more information I will do my best to answer or find an answer to your question. Thanks!

  3. Wes King says:

    Joanne and anyone else: the funding opportunity number for FMPP is: USDA-AMS-TM-FMPP-G-16-0002

    The funding opportunity number for LFPP is: USDA-AMS-TM-LFPP-G-16-0001

  4. Greetings,

    I am writing from Kenya and I am kindly asking if you can also give funding to non profit groups in Kenya like my youth group who is training farmers in Kenya?

    Kindly let me know if we can also apply for it please!

    Keep in touch,
    Regards,

    Raymond

  5. Sarah Hackney says:

    Hi Raymond, Thank you for your interest! Unfortunately our organization does not have grant funds to give out; we simply help spread the word about USDA funding opportunities here in the United States. We wish you the best in your work and thank you for your efforts!

  6. Arlena Schott says:

    Looking Forward to the Webinars

  7. Phyllis Robinson says:

    Gentlemen from Kenya may want to try the USAID website

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