$27M available to support local food systems

united stated department of agriculture logo

Volume 3, Issue 3, January 17, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems

$27 Million Available to Support Local Food Producers

On January 11, USDA announced requests for applications for the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), and the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), which offer $27 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers and businesses. 

“These grants will continue USDA’s support for the local food sector as an important strategy for keeping wealth in rural communities,” said AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer. “Entrepreneurs around the country are creating jobs and new economic opportunities in response to growing consumer demand for local food.  AMS is excited to partner with local food stakeholders to strengthen local economies and improve access to fresh, healthy food for their communities.”

Zone 7 food hub delivery

Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program

The FMPP provides funds for direct farmer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands, and agritourism. The LFPP supports projects focused on intermediary supply chain activities, such as aggregation, processing, storage, and distribution for local foods.

Farm to school examples:

  • In 2014 Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation received a LFPP grant to expand a pilot Farm to Early Care Project in Central Brooklyn by increasing access to farm fresh, healthy food for 1,500 children while generating increased revenue for participating farmers.
  • In 2015, using a LFPP grant, Pittsburg Unified School District in northern California developed the Contra Costa County Nutrition Services Joint Powers Agreement, allowing interested school districts to collaboratively procure local food for their school meal programs.
  • In 2016, Third Sector New England received a LFPP planning grant to support six partnering food hubs increase their sales to nearby institutional buyers (schools, hospitals, colleges).

Federal State Marketing Improvement Program

The FSMIP provides about $1 million in matching funds to state departments of agriculture, state colleges and universities, and other appropriate state agencies to support research projects that address challenges and opportunities in marketing, transporting, and distributing U.S. agricultural products domestically and internationally.

Farm to school example:

  • Using FSMIP funds, the Montana Department of Agriculture supported expanded market opportunities for Montana farmers by determining the best methods for processing and preparing fruits and vegetables to make them available year-round to supply the state’s K-12 schools.

Applications for FSMIP, FMPP and LFPP are due on March 27, 2017.

FoodCorps Logo

FoodCorps Application Now Open

As a FoodCorps service member, you can help kids learn what healthy food is, fall in love with it, and eat it every day. FoodCorps recruits talented leaders for a year of paid public service building healthy school food environments in limited-resource communities. As a service member, you will:

  • Teach students hands on lessons in growing, cooking and tasting healthy food;
  • Promote healthy eating options in the cafeteria: and,
  • Make schools healthier places to eat, learn and grow.

Applications are due March 15th.

Team Up Webinar - Grants for Financial Success

Thursday, January, 26 2017 3:00 4:00 PM ET

The January Team Up Thursday webinar will focus on grants as a way to achieve financial management success! Webinar participants will learn about some of the grants available to help support school nutrition programs. We'll also share tips and trends from successful USDA Farm to School grantees!

Local Food Marketing Practices Map

Bringing it Home at the End of the Year

By Hubert Hamer, Administrator, National Agricultural Statistics Service

According to recent data on local food marketing practices, 167,000 U.S. farms locally produced and sold food through direct marketing practices, resulting in $8.7 billion in revenue. Pennsylvania led the U.S. in the number of farms selling directly to consumers, with more than 6,000 operations. California led in sales, earning $467 million. The survey also concluded that more than 80 percent of all direct market food sales occurred within 100 miles of the farm.