Grants Available to Improve Consumer Access to Fresh, Locally Grown Foods Through Farm Stands, Farmers’ Markets

December 7, 2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Pennsylvania consumers will have better access to nutritious, locally grown farm products through the help of grants to producers who market and sell their products at farmers’ markets or farm stands, acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said today.

The Direct Farm Sales Grant Program is a competitive award that provides up to $7,500 to eligible Pennsylvania-based farmers, non-profit organizations and local governments selling specialty crops like fruits and vegetables.

“More consumers are choosing to purchase fresh, locally grown foods,” said Redding. “This grant program supports farmers who have made the decision to take their goods directly to consumers. At $5.8 billion, Pennsylvania ranks third nationally in direct farm sales. That level of sales reinforces just how important it is that we support the state’s farmers’ markets and farm stands.”

Redding also said taking goods to a farmers’ market or food stand can help farmers to build lasting relationships with consumers.

More than $96,000 is available through the grant program this year. Recipients must provide a 25 percent match in funding or in-kind services to receive a grant.

Grants may be used to cover the costs of a farm stand or farmers’ market associated with:

  • Developing a business plan;
  • Opening at a new location, including site selection, demographic research, farmer recruitment and sales potential analysis;
  • Promoting an existing location through marketing materials, media outreach and advertising;
  • Personnel costs;
  • Purchasing tables, stands and other display materials;
  • Providing nutrition education materials or educational materials about Pennsylvania farm products; and
  • Outreach to program participants to increase involvement in food assistance programs.

Last year, 40 applicants benefitted from the program.

Applications must be delivered or postmarked by Friday, Jan. 8. Completed applications may be delivered or mailed to: Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Food Distribution, 2301 N. Cameron St., Room 401, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408.

For more information about the grant program or to download an application, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “Direct Farm Sales Grant Program.”

Media contact: Justin Fleming, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

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