Federal Grants Available to Improve Access to Locally Grown Food; Deadline Is April 15

March 23, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Federal grants aimed at increasing direct farmer-to-consumer sales and improving access to locally grown food are now available, state Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today. The deadline to apply is April 15.

Grants of up to $100,000 per project are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program to improve and expand domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct market opportunities.

“Pennsylvania ranks among the top five states nationally in direct farm sales, which play an important role in local economies and help link consumers directly with producers,” said Redding. “Not only does this grant program support farmers’ efforts to strengthen their customer base and establish new markets, it also helps communities gain greater access to fresh and locally produced foods.”

Eligible applicants include agricultural cooperatives; producer networks and associations; local and tribal governments; non-profit, public benefit and economic development corporations; and regional farmers market authorities. Individuals are not eligible.

Applicants should focus on one of three priorities:

  • Recruiting and retaining new farmers to participate at farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer farm marketing outlets;
  • Pursuing professional development opportunities for those individuals or organizations that manage and/or operate farmers markets and other direct marketing enterprises; and
  • Improving access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms in local, rural and underserved communities.

Applications must be received to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing service by close of business on Thursday, April 15. Completed applications may be mailed to Carmen Humphrey, Program Manager, Farmers Market Promotion Program, AMS, 1800 M Street, N.W., Room 3012-South Tower, Washington, D.C., 20036.

Applications are available online at www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP.

For more information about the grant program or marketing opportunities, contact Lela Reichart at 717-783-1394 or lreichart@state.pa.us, or visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on “Bureaus, Commissions & Councils,” and then “Bureau of Market Development.”

Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Source: newswire

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