The USDA provides several opportunities throughout the year to help communities nourish their local agricultural markets. Two grants with upcoming deadlines, the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), help locally grown food become a catalyst for economic development by supporting food businesses and encouraging the consumption of local products.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program
The FMPP is a non-matching grant that supports direct to consumer activity, meaning that it helps farmers and agricultural producers sell directly to their customers. Read about eligibility requirements, the social and economic benefits of farmers markets, and the creative ways past recipients have used their funds in our Farmers Market Promotion Program post. This year's deadline is March 27, 2017.
The Local Food Promotion Program
While the FMPP enhances farmers' ability to sell directly to shoppers, the LFPP supports intermediate activities that get products to the consumer’s plate. Applicants must collect, distribute, process or store regionally or locally produced products within a 400 mile radius. This 25% matching grant has two categories:
- Planning Grants – used in the planning stage to help establish or expand regional or local food enterprises. Market research, feasibility studies, and business planning are examples of supported activities.
- Implementation Grants – help establish or improved new regional or local food enterprises. Training and technical assistance, outreach, marketing, and non-construction infrastructure or IT improvements are among the supported activities.
Selected Past Recipients
- The Summitt Hard Cider and Perry Company in Fort Collins, CO plans to revitalize the local fruit market via a LFPP implementation grant. Classes and workshop will be offered in all stages of cider making, from caring for the fruit trees to the production process itself. Increased visibility of cider makers at local festivals and farmer’s markets will boost agritourism.
- Tohono O'ODham Community Action is helping to inspire a traditional food renaissance in Southern Arizona with the help of a solar-powered, refrigerated mobile trailer acquired through an implementation award.
- Adelante Mujeres of Forest Grove, OR will use their implementation grant to expand markets for culturally-appropriate local foods. The program seeks to increase sales of participating farmers’ products, achieve long-term financial viability, and increase the efficiency, infrastructure, and capacity of the Adelante Mujeres Distributor and Community Supported Agriculture Program.
- New Venture Advisers of Chicago, IL will create five free interactive online tools for food planners. These tools will enable entrepreneurs to conduct self-assessments necessary to achieve financial viability and avoid wasting resources on infeasible projects.
- Alchemy Kitchen, a business incubator in Northern California, won a planning grant to bring the “farm to fork” movement to Sacramento’s Promise Zone. Even though the Sacramento region is one of nation’s largest agricultural producers, only two percent of their food comes from local farmers. Alchemy Kitchen plans to create new opportunities for low-income entrepreneurs, increase the market for local farmers, and make more fresh produce available to underserved communities.
- The breadfruit may be making a comeback thanks to an implementation grant to Mala Kaluulu Cooperative in Captain Cook, HI. The historically self-sufficient archipelago now imports about 85% of its food. That not only makes it expensive, but susceptible to supply disruptions interruptions. Promoting this traditional food source will expand opportunities for Hawaiian farmers and increase food security throughout the islands.
Applying for the Local Food Promotion Program
Eligible applicants are Native American tribes, local governments, consortia, nonprofits, and the private sector. Priority will be given to communities located in impoverished areas with limited access to supermarkets, rural areas with populations under 50,000, and Promise Zone lead applicants. Apply by March 27, 2017.