Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP)

Farmers markets provide direct access to fresh, healthy local food, benefiting farmers and consumers across the country. The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is a competitive grants program intended to increase and strengthen direct producer-to-consumer marketing channels. FMC is committed to documenting and sharing the program’s innovations and maintaining strong federal support for FMPP in the upcoming Farm Bill.

      

History

FMPP was established in the 2002 Farm Bill in order to “establish, expand, and promote direct producer-to-consumer marketing and assist in the development of local food business enterprises,” and first began funding projects in 2006.

The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program into the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and authorized two subprograms – FMPP and the Local Food Promotion Program – to receive $15 million in annual funding. Both programs are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

FMPP at the Market

FMPP grants must are available to assist direct-to-consumer outlets (i.e. farmers markets and roadside stands) develop, improve, and expand operations and to provide outreach, training, and technical assistance to these direct-to-consumer businesses. Eligible applicants include non-profit corporations, for-profit businesses, agricultural cooperatives, producer networks and associations, local governments, public benefit and economic development corporations, regional farmers market authorities, and tribal governments. Grants can be used for a variety of projects including market startup, infrastructure, training and education, outreach, market analysis and planning, customer and producer surveys, vendor and customer recruitment, and new venue establishment.

The Local Food Promotion Program provides grant funding to assist in the development, improvement, or expansion of local and regional food business enterprises. Read more about it at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website…

Awards range from $50,000 to $500,000. In 2015, FMPP awarded 164 grants, totaling $13.3 million.  At least 10% of grants are  given to projects that benefit communities located in areas of concentrated poverty with limited access to supermarkets, as defined by USDA’s ERS Food Access Research Atlas map.

FMPP attracts a wide variety of local, regional and state-level applicants with interests ranging from health to economic development to food security to sustainable agriculture—many of which have not sought or received USDA grants before.  Since 2006, 21% of all proposals have been funded, with community demand for the program consistently outweighing available funds.

Impacts

Market organizers—often limited by volunteer staffing—juggle many activities simultaneously, including coordinating with farmers, curating an appropriate product mix, conducting outreach, securing permits and planning educational programming. FMPP was established by Congress to help direct-to-consumer outlets like farmers markets attain self-sufficiency and provide economic and social benefits to both rural and urban communities. The resources required by these nonprofit community organizations to get started and implement innovative programs are typically small.  Research suggests that with a small and targeted infusion of funds, markets can become stable, identify and leverage community partners and resources, facilitate volunteer staff, and establish viable operating and governance models that help local farmers compete in an increasingly sophisticated retail environment.

Research by FMC and Market Umbrella revealed that FMPP grants yielded a diverse set of impacts in hundreds of communities, serving and even helping build the capacity of statewide farmers market and direct agricultural marketing organizations. Grantees reported that after receiving their grant, the variety of local farm products sold, the number of vendors, and the number of consumers all increased substantially.