The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is looking to spend millions grant funding to help build, grow, promote and expand farmers markets and other community supported agriculture models.
Demand for Access to Local Food Grows
The number of farmers markets has increased significantly over the past decade, with a grown of 50 percent since 2011. Research has also shown that access to locally grown food boosts economic activity as well as supports a more sustainable community.
Since its inception in 2008, the FMPP has awarded $58 million in grants to assist farmers markets in connecting to local communities and expanding their reach. Grant funds can be used for a variety of needs, from training new workers to upgrading existing farmers markets stands or promoting agritourism activities.
FMPP Grants Encourage Farmers Markets to Thrive
The FMPP offers grants for projects in two different categories:
#1 Capacity Building (CB): The minimum award for CB projects is $50,000, with a maximum award of $250,000. Approximately 14 percent of FMPP grants are awarded to CB projects, such as a 2007 grant to Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, which helped prevent the shutdown of the business due to outdated cold storage equipment.
#2 Community Development, Training and Technical Assistance (CTA): The minimum award for CTA projects if $50,000, with a maximum award of $500,000. CTA funds can be used for a variety of project needs in every aspect of the farmers market business, including new customer outreach. A 2008 grant awarded to the Michigan Food & Farming Systems facilitated a 1,776 percent growth in sales from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.
No matching funds are required for FMPP grants.
Potential applicants can use this chart provided by the USDA to help determine which type of grant best suits their needs:
Applicants must operate inside the U.S. or one of its territories, and be categorized as:
- Agricultural businesses
- Agricultural cooperatives
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) networks
- CSA associations
- Economic development corporations
- Local governments
- Nonprofit corporations
- Producer networks
- Producer associations
- Public benefit corporations
- Regional farmers’ market authorities
- Tribal governments
The deadline for applying for a FMPP grant is May 7, 2018. Funds for programs need to be implemented by Sept. 30, and will run for 36 months.