2014 Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program Awardees Announced!
The 2014 grantees for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) have been released. The announcement was part of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement of over $52 million in support of local and regional food systems, and the organic industry. The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) make up $27 million of that $52 million. “Investing in local and regional food systems supports the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers, especially smaller operations, while strengthening economies in communities across the country. Today’s announcements also improve access to fresh, healthy food for millions of Americans,” said Vilsack.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) started as a $1 Million experimental grant program in 2006, and has now grown into a flagship program supporting local agriculture in all of its forms. After taking a year’s hiatus during the farm bill negotiations of 2013, the FMPP was expanded into the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, which comes in two parts: $15 Million per year for farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities; and $15 Million per year for local and regional food enterprises like food hubs.
These programs offer local food systems across the country the opportunity to increase the depth and scale of their impact—with proven success. Participation in the Farmers Market Promotion Program led to a 118% increase in the number of farmers and entrepreneurs selling at the Foothills Farmers Market in California, creating seven new businesses, and increasing the market’s total sales by 240% in just three years. An FMPP grant given to the Michigan Farmers Market Association allowed the organization to increase the number of farmers markets accepting SNAP benefits in Michigan from three in 2006 to 103 in 2012. More on past grantee activity can be seen at fmpp.farmersmarketcoalition.org.
The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) congratulates the winners of this year’s grant awards, and commends the members of Congress and USDA staff that have made these innovative programs a reality. FMC will be monitoring and reporting on the exciting initiatives and programming that will result from this year’s grants. Additionally, FMC will be working on its own FMPP funded project—creating a modular series of training materials for farmers’ market practitioners on effective data collection strategies.