USDA Funding Available

Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced $26 million to fund local and regional food systems projects through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and $1 million for the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP). FMLPP is comprised of two sub programs that each have their own separate Requests for Applications, the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Foods Promotion Program (LFPP). This initiative supports a wide range of direct-to-consumer and local food marketing projects. 

Program Details and Eligibility
The FMLPP funds projects that increase consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products and develop new local marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers. The program is open to applications from agricultural businesses and cooperatives; producer networks and associations; community supported agriculture networks and associations; nonprofit and public benefit corporations; for-profit agricultural business entities; economic development corporations; regional farmers’ market authorities; and local and tribal governments.
At least 10% of funding is designated to projects that benefit communities located in areas of concentrated poverty with limited access to supermarkets, and projects that involve Promise Zone Lead Applicant Organizations. Applicants can submit proposals to both FMPP and LFPP and can accept one award from each program if granted.Applications must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov by 11:59 pm Eastern time on March 27, 2017.

FMPP
Projects that FMPP funds must be related to producer-to-consumer direct marketing, including but not limited to domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities, and must benefit more than one producer or individual. Grant funds can not be used for production-related expenses or duplicate activities in a project funded by another Federal program, including FMLFPP. In addition, projects that are dependent on the purchase or lease-to-own purchase of a vehicle, a critical component not in place at the time of application submission, or the completion of another project or receipt of another grant are not eligible for funding. Award duration is 36 months and the expected project end date is September 29, 2020.

FMPP offers both Capacity Building and Community Development, Training, and Technical Assistance (CTA) projects. Capacity Building assist applicants in the development, improvement, and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities; grant awards range from $50,000 - $250,000. CTA projects provide outreach, training, and technical assistance to farm and ranch operations for developing, improving, and expanding  direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities; grant awards range from $250,000 - $500,000.

LFPP
LFPP funded projects must support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products and must benefit more than one agricultural producer or individual. LFPP will not fund projects that purchase or collect food or services to donate to other entities and/or individuals or that promote local/regional food consumption in general (not related to a specific product, good or service). Grant funds can not be used for production-related expenses or duplicate activities in a project funded by another Federal program, including FMLFPP. In addition, projects that are dependent on the purchase or lease-to-own purchase of a vehicle, a critical component not in place at the time of application submission, or the completion of another project or receipt of another grant are not eligible for funding.

There are two types of project applications are accepted under LFPP—planning grants and implementation grants. Planning grants fund the planning stages of establishing, improving or expanding a Local and Regional Food Business Enterprise that increase domestic consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products and develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Grant awards range from $25,000 - $100,000 and the award duration is up to 18 months, with an expected project completion date of March 31, 2019.

Implementation grants fund projects that establish a new local and regional food business enterprise or improve and expand an existing local or regional food business enterprise that increase domestic consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products and develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets. Grant awards range from $100,000 - $500,000 and the award duration is up to 36 months, with an expected project completion date of September 29, 2020.

Training Webinars and Application Reviewers
AMS will be hosting a free webinar on March 24 at 2pm Eastern Time for those interested in applying to FMLPP. In addition, AMS is hosting two webinars on how to use www.Grants.gov to submit applications to Federal Programs, on March 22 and on March 29.

AMS is also seeking subject matter experts as peer reviewers to objectively evaluate grant applications against the published criteria in its competitive grant programs’ Requests for Applications (RFA). Reviewers are chosen based on their knowledge, education, and experience related to the agriculture sector as well as any other criteria based on the requirements mentioned in the RFA that the applicants must respond to. The deadline to submit applications for grant reviewers is May 2, 2016. Learn more and download an application on the FMPP or LFPP webpage.

Background and Northeast Grants
The FMLFPP is an expanded version of the Farmers Market Promotion Program, created in the 2002 Farm Bill to fund farmer direct-to-consumer marketing efforts. It was first funded through annual appropriations in 2006 and in 2008, it received mandatory Farm Bill funding of $33 million over 5 years. In 2014, the program was expanded to include local and regional food enterprises that are not direct-to-consumer, and funding increased to $30 million per year.  

In total, the FMPP has awarded 793 grants since 2009, totaling nearly $55 million. The NESAWG 12-state region has received 156 grants, totalling over $11 million. The LFPP has funded 352 projects since 2014, totaling over $30 million. Our region has received 96 of those grants, about $8.5 million. A few organizations receiving grants in our region include:

  • Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, for a project will implement a recently-completed business plan to create a fully-operational and self-sufficient market
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island, to conduct a feasibility study to enhance its local food aggregation and distribution program, the Market Mobile, that serves local institutions, including schools, hospitals, food pantries, and care facilities.
  • Fair Food in Philadelphia, PA, to improve its partner, FarmArt’s, line of local produce and expand the number of grocers purchasing their local produce through a marketing campaign.
  • West Virginia Community Development Hub to develop and implement a curriculum to train a new crop of WV farmers marketers.
  • Just Food in New York City to fund a food education and marketing project called To Market! Promoting Healthy Eating and Local Produce at Farmers’ Markets in NYC’s Low-Income Communities.
  • Maryland Farmers Market Association, to build a robust and cohesive network of farmers markets in Maryland

More Info
Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants.gov page
Farmers Market Promotion Program Overview
Farmers Market Promotion Program RFA
Local Food Promotion Program Grants.gov page
Local Food Promotion Program Overview
Local Food Promotion Program RFA
USDA AMS News Release Announcing Webinars
Program Funding Announcement post from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition