Help Available to Establish Local Food Infrastructure

April 27th is the last day to submit applications to USDA's Farmers Market Promotion Program. This year, Congress increased to $5 million the amount available in grants nationally. Last year, 225 organizations, communities and farmers market associations applied and 85 grants were awarded.
Of the 85 grants awarded, only 28 were awarded to assist farmers markets in rural communities.  Perhaps this grant program is not known well enough.  But a grant award in the allowed range of $2,500 to $100,000 would make a huge difference to any farmers market and for rural communities struggling to establish local food infrastructure. Even a small grant could make all the difference.
 
USDA should make it a priority to help rural communities access the program and give rural farmers markets an opportunity to benefit from these grants as well.  Enhancing rural farmers markets could help rebuild rural food systems, give rural Americans better choices for spending their food dollar and create economic opportunities that could help revive rural mainstreets.
 
Rural Americans should also step up and help seek funding for their local farmers markets. For more information on the program and how to apply visit: http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP or call the Center for Rural Affairs at (402) 687-2100.

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