The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $9 million in farmers market promotion grants.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said in a news release that the awards went to organizations in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico for efforts to boost the connections between growers and consumers.

“This year’s Farmers Market Promotion Program awards are diverse and illustrate the many different ways farmers are directly connecting to communities and consumers,” Merrigan said in the late September release. “From starting up mobile markets to helping new farmers and ranchers, these USDA announces grants for farmers market developmentgrants will create new economic opportunities and encourage consumers to eat healthier.”

The grants included:

  • More than 40 projects starting new markets and retail outlets, community-supported programs or market season extensions;
  • 17 projects supporting new delivery approaches such as online and mobile markets;
  • 13 projects increasing support and opportunities for beginning growers; and
  • 10 projects helping hospitals and health care groups marketing local produce.

Since 2006, the Farmers Market Promotion Program has awarded more than $32 million.