Help with Local Foods Opportunities Available

When the USDA launched their "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative last year there was a lot of talk in the mainstream media about how USDA would accomplish their goals of creating new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers as well as starting a national conversation about the importance of understanding where your food comes from and how it gets to your plate.
One USDA effort has been accomplishing these goals for years.  The Farmers Market Promotion Program, which provides grant funds intended to increase direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities, has funded more than 200 local, direct-to-consumer marketing projects since 2006.

On March 1st the USDA published a notice in the Federal Register of $5 million in Farmers Market Promotion grant funds available for 2010.  Proposals for funding are due April 15th. For more information and how to apply visit - http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/FMPP - or contact John Crabtree at johnc@cfra.org or 402-687-2100.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program grants provide an excellent opportunity for market farmers and rural communities to recoup some of the costs of establishing a local farmers market or promoting an existing market.  Other direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects are also eligible.

At the Center for Rural Affairs we have always tried to encourage and assist rural communities with this application process because farmers markets are good for rural communities.  They bring farmers and consumers together to create a stronger local economy, opportunities for farmers and ranchers and they provide consumers with fresh, nutritious, affordable local food.

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