The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $90.2 million investment in 203 projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for local and regional food businesses. The funding is made possible through grant programs administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service as part of the Local Agriculture Marketing Program: the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs and the Regional Food System Partnerships.
FMLFPP awarded a total of $75.4 million to 172 projects across 41 states to support the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer to consumer markets and local and regional food business enterprises.
RFSP awarded $14.8 million to 30 projects across 24 states to support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems. The projects focus on strengthening the viability and resilience of regional food economies through collaboration and coordination.
“The Local Agriculture Marketing Program grants have a history of generating new income sources for small, beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and creating new market opportunities for value-added and niche products,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The new grants will help build a fairer, more transparent food system rooted in local and regional production where businesses can compete fairly, because a greater share of the profit will go to those growing, harvesting, and preparing our food.”
These projects will support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products.
“Small and medium size farmers, ranchers and processors have an important role in strengthening our food supply chain. These USDA local and regional food grants will help these agricultural businesses build, expand and sustain the processing, distribution and storage systems that will help move food from the farm to the table,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt.
For a list of grant recipients and to learn more about, visit www.ams.usda.gov/grants.