The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is making over $26 million in grant funding available to strengthen local and regional food systems through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program, and hosting a series of webinars to help farmers markets, producers groups, and other potential applicants with the grant process.
Administered by AMS, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program provides a combined total of over $26 million in competitive grants, divided equally between the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). FMPP grants support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism. LFPP funding supports projects that develop, improve, and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, aggregation, and storage of locally- or regionally-produced food products.
Grant applications must be submitted electronically through www.Grants.gov. Applicants should start the Grants.gov registration process as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the deadline. Applications for FMPP and LFPP are due by 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) on May 12, 2016.
AMS will host a webinar on March 24, 2016, at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time) for FMPP and LFPP applicants (registration link). For more information about webinars, visit the AMS grants website: www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants.
In addition, AMS will host www.Grants.gov webinars on March 22 (registration link) and March 29 (registration link), both at 2 p.m. (Eastern Time), to explain how to submit grant applications via www.Grants.gov.
Additional grant writing workshops will be held through the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance (AMSTA) Project. Please visit www.amsta.net to see if training is scheduled in your area.
For more information about these grant programs, including program background, grant award periods, and minimum and maximum award amounts, visit the AMS grants website: www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants. The website also contains a link "What AMS Grant is Right for Me?" under which applicants can use a grants decision tree to determine which AMS grant fits their project best.
These programs are key elements of USDA’s Know Your Food, Know Your Farmer initiative, which coordinates the Department’s support for local and regional food systems. The Secretary has identified local and regional food systems as one of the four pillars of rural economic development.