( USDA )

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $23.5 million in grant funding awards through the Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Food Promotion Program,

The USDA said the programs, part of the Local Agricultural Marketing Program authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, each distributes about $11.75 million, and both require 25% applicant matching funds.

The USDA said the Farmers Market Promotion Program received 183 applications, of which 49 projects were funded. For the Local Food Promotion Program, the USDA received 215 applications and funded 42 projects.

A few of the projects funded by Farmers Market Promotion Programs include:

  • Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) will launch the first mobile farmers’ market app and delivery service in Southern California;
  • Farmshare Fresh for Less Mobile Markets project in Austin, Texas, connect consumers to local producers by sourcing, aggregating and marketing local produce, along with healthy grocery staples, directly to customers. The markets currently operate 7 sites and will expand to 14, in 2020, to meet demonstrated need; and 
  • Global Garden Refugee Training farm in Montgomery, Ill., proposes to improve food safety practices and increase earnings from direct-to-consumer produce sales for six displaced refugee farmers who have established incubator plots at the program farm.

A few of the projects funded by the Local Food Promotion Program Project include:

  • The Davis, Calif., Community Alliance with Family Farmers will build farmer capacity, increase market access and supply, build food hub viability via training, purchasing planning, new sales, and food safety support and support more institutions to purchase local foods through technical assistance and brokered connections;
  • In Colorado Springs, Colo., Bytable, Inc. will refine a scalable infrastructure model for online sales for regional and local food businesses; and
  • The Fort Pierce, Fla.-based Treasure Coast Food Bank will utilize its Florida Agriculture and Nutrition Collaborative (FANC) Food Production Facility in Fort Pierce, Florida to provide small-scale local and regional farmers and growers (SSLRFGs) with new and strengthened market opportunities by increasing regional consumption of and access to five million pounds of locally and regionally grown produce.
 
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