USDA awards $9 million to increase connections between producers and farmers markets

September 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will be awarding $9 million to 39 states through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). This program is designed to help facilitate more connections between agricultural producers and consumers. The funding includes:

  • More than 40 projects that connect farmers and ranchers to new customers by establishing new markets and other retail outlets, community supported agriculture programs or extend the market season;
  • Seventeen projects that will support the use of new delivery approaches such as online and mobile markets, broadening the customer base for several businesses;
  • Thirteen projects that reinforce USDA’s commitment to new and beginning farmers and ranchers, increasing opportunities, training and support for those just getting started;
  • Twelve projects that focus on initiatives that support American Indian and Alaskan Native communities, and new opportunities for Latino, refugee and immigrant farmers;
  • Ten projects that will help hospitals and health care organizations improve eating habits in their communities through education and the direct marketing of fresh local produce; and
  • Nine projects that support agritourism, bringing visitors and consumers to farms and ranches.

The 2012 award includes $115,000 for North Carolina for the following projects:

  • $62,770 to WakeMed, Raleigh, NC, to improve food access in Wake County by: 1) purchasing EBT equipment, 2) providing training to farmers, and 4) hiring EBT management staff at two farmers markets that serve low‐income residents of Wake County.
  • $44,768 to Foothills Farmers Market Inc., Shelby, NC, to expand production, storage, and distribution of perishable food in a food desert by equipping a market facility with refrigeration and starting a multi‐farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation.
  • $57,750 to Town of Huntersville, NC, to enhance the Huntersville Farmers Market with new infrastructure and signage at the market, to promote the market with an advertising campaign, and to educate consumers about healthy meals with local produce.

These programs will certainly help expand access to healthy foods, particularly with the emphasis on EBT usage, food deserts, and education. Further discussion of healthy foods access will be happening at the healthy foods forum, NC Grown, on October 9 in Greensboro. Information and registration can be found at http://www.thesupportcenter-nc.org/NCGrown.

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Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy, Farm Lending, Farm Policy, Healthy Foods. Tags: , , .

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