ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 26, 2010 – Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today awarded grants for Michigan to expand opportunities for farmers and healthy consumption through the 2010 Farmers Market Promotion Program.
"These farmers market grants support direct-marketing and improve accesses to healthy local foods in Michigan," Merrigan said. "The Obama Administration continues working to help people access healthy and nutritious food, while supporting the farmers who produce the food."
The Farmers Market Promotion Program projects have funded market promotions and advertising, increased use of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) at farmers markets, and the creation of community centers throughout the state. With these four Farmers Market Promotion Program grants awarded in Michigan for fiscal year 2010, investment in the state through the program has reached nearly $600,000.
As in prior years, this year's recipients will extend access to fresh, local foods in underserved communities and increase market opportunities for local growers. Funding will support new direct-market outlets, expand EBT programs, and value-added opportunities for producers in urban and low-income communities in Ann Arbor, Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, and Lansing.
All four of these projects seek to increase the year-round availability of locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to meeting the demand side of healthy consumption, these grants will also help to create the supply side by growing the next generation of producers through farmer apprenticeship and youth entrepreneurship programs. Whether increasing the capacity of consumers to access these fresh food products, or the capacity of producers and processors to generate farm-related income, these grants will help to strengthen local food systems in Michigan.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program was created through a 2002 Farm Bill amendment of the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976 to help improve and expand domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities. Since its inception, FMPP has awarded nearly $14.5 million to increase direct-marketing income and consumer access to local farm products.
Under the funding announced today, 4 grants were awarded in the amount of $235,103 as follows:
Community Farm Kitchen, LLC – Ann Arbor – $28,603
Berrien County Health Department – Benton Harbor – $39,947 (existing EBT)
YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids – Grand Rapids – $76,344
Allen Neighborhood Center – Lansing – $90,209
These four Michigan awards bring the grand total of national Farmers Market Promotion Program grant-making for fiscal year 2010 to $4.335 million. For project summaries on these and the other 77 fiscal year 2010 recipients, visit the Farmers Market Promotion Program Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP.
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