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News Release

Release No. 0344.06
Contact:
Becky Unkenholz (202) 720-8998
Kristin Scuderi (202) 720-4623

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JOHANNS AWARDS 20 GRANTS UNDER THE FARMERS MARKET PROMOTION PROGRAM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2006 -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced

20 grants totaling $900,000 to establish, expand or promote local farmers markets, roadside stands, and similar agricultural ventures under the new Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP).

"Farmers markets are popular throughout the country and beneficial for both farmers and consumers," said Johanns. "It gives farmers another outlet to sell their products, and consumers access to fresh, locally grown food."

The goal of the FMPP is to increase domestic consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products while providing support to farmers. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) administers the program. These first-time grants are authorized under the recently amended Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1976.

These grants will assist regional farmers markets authorities; local governments; nonprofit and economic development corporations; and tribal governments in 17 states in carrying out a variety of projects. AMS will award funding for the following projects:

ARIZONA - $19,421 to the Natwani Coalition of Kykotsmovi, Ariz., to help sustain a farmers market on the Hopi reservation through innovative cooperative transportation of produce that will improve access and availability for market patrons.

ARKANSAS - $52,918 to the City of Hot Springs, Ark., to encourage greater diversity of both vendors and customers at the local farmers market, address infrastructure shortcomings that impede vendor and consumer participation in the market, and to improve the access of lower-income consumers to fresh food through an increased focus on WIC/Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupon redemption, food stamp redemption, and nutritional education programs.

CALIFORNIA - $70,000 to the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association of Concord, Calif., to test various promotional strategies and to determine which combinations of community outreach and media use are the most cost-effective in encouraging consumers to patronize local farmers markets.

$41,800 to the Davis Farmers Market Foundation of Davis, Calif., to create new marketing opportunities for the current vendors at the Davis Farmers Market by developing an innovative partnership with the Davis Joint Unified School District.

COLORADO - $57,930 to the Colorado Farmers Market Association of Boulder, Colo., to assist farmers markets in Colorado in implementing electronic benefits transfers (EBT) that will aid in increasing food stamp redemptions at local farmers markets, thus allowing greater consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables by lower-income consumers.

FLORIDA - $63,238 to the Florida Association of Community Farmers Markets of Daytona Beach, Fla., to develop baseline data on the economic and demographic characteristics of Florida farmers markets; to provide training to Florida farmers who may need assistance in transitioning from selling to wholesale buyers to supplying household consumers; to train farmers market managers in identifying and recruiting local growers to participate in community farmers markets; and to expand consumer awareness of locally grown farm products through promotional activities.

ILLINOIS - $8,640 to the Oswegoland Park District of Oswego, Ill., to recruit more farmer vendors and customers for its recently created community farmers market through advertising, community outreach, and promotion.

IOWA - $7,848 to the City of Silver City, Iowa, to increase the number of farmer vendors and to expand the customer base of the Silver City Market through implementation of promotional strategies that increase market visibility and accessibility.

MASSACHUSETTS - $61,275 to the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Inc. (CISA), of South Deerfield, Mass., to develop a new direct marketing channel for farmers by creating a community supported agriculture (CSA) program for workplace employees in western Massachusetts, while providing training and hands-on agricultural production and marketing experiences for new immigrant farmers and other small-scale agriculture producers.

MICHIGAN - $24,140 to the Central Macomb Chamber of Commerce of Mount Clemens, Mich., to develop a more thorough understanding of customer shopping habits at a largely volunteer-run community farmers market; to increase the market's visibility through various signage, advertising and communication strategies; and to provide a more sustainable source of farm-based income for regional horticultural growers threatened by urban sprawl.

NEW MEXICO - $68,550 to the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association of Santa Fe, N.M., to boost the volume of locally grown fruit, vegetable and tree nut crops available for sale at New Mexico's farmers markets through targeted technical assistance; to introduce wireless EBT technology to farmers markets in four rural counties in New Mexico that suffer high rates of poverty, in order to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables among Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo residents of lower-income communities that receive food stamp benefits; to help sustain a new senior farmers market nutrition voucher project that has yielded encouraging results to date; and to develop the capacity of new and emerging farmers markets throughout the state by offering competitive mini-grants for facility improvements.

NEW YORK - $66,000 to the Council on the Environment of New York City to evaluate the impact of wireless EBT terminals on the ability of inner-city farmers market vendors to tap more successfully into the estimated $1 billion in benefits received by food stamp recipients in New York City each year, and to encourage greater patronage of farmers markets by lower-income households.

$29,829 to the Cooperative Extension Association of Madison County, N.Y., to improve the ability of Agricultural Extension Agents to provide relevant assistance to farmers market managers and vendors in their communities through the development of targeted training materials.

NORTH CAROLINA - $45,235 to the Ashe County Partnership for Children of Jefferson, N.C., to acquire specialized equipment for a planned 2,500 square foot shared-use commercial kitchen that will enable local producers to bake and process local food products including fried and baked pies, jams, jellies and fruit butters, applesauce and dried fruit snacks, from lesser-grade fruit that cannot be sold profitably through fresh market channels.

OREGON - $10,000 to the Oregon Health and Science University Foundation of Portland, Ore., to develop a farmers market at a teaching hospital campus that employs more than 11,000 individuals and treats more than 180,000 patients annually, serving as a platform to incorporate more locally grown food into the university's cafeteria menus and promote healthier eating habits among community residents through nutrition education.

$67,692 to Oregon Rural Action of La Grande, Ore., to analyze and identify the economic, geographic and infrastructural factors that have contributed to the long-term success and failure of various farmers markets in the State of Oregon, and explore the role(s) that a statewide farmers market association might be able to play in enhancing the stability of farmers market operations through networking, information exchange, and strategic planning.

SOUTH CAROLINA - $20,264 to Clemson University of Clemson, S.C., to attract more customers and vendors to a historic county farmers market in order to improve farm-based income and to improve consumer access to fresh fruits and vegetables in a very rural, racially diverse community where a sizable segment of households (21 percent) live below the poverty line.

TEXAS - $67,950 to the Sunset Valley Farmers Market of Sunset Valley, Texas, to design a permanent farmers market facility for the community that incorporates conservation and environmentally sustainable principles in its architectural and design elements, in order to enhance the efficiency, utility, and visual appeal of the farmers market structure.

VERMONT - $62,538 to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont of Richmond, Vt., to improve the profitability of direct-to-consumer farm marketing activities in Vermont by conducting an assessment of existing direct marketing channels for farm products; to provide technical training to local producers on value-added product development, merchandise displays, and market development for fall/winter crops; and to developing the technical capacity of Vermont farmers markets to accept food stamps.

WISCONSIN - $54,732 to the Dunn County Economic Development Corporation of Menomonie, Wisc., to significantly increase the income of small-scale goat producers in Wisconsin by providing them with the opportunity to direct-market locally raised and processed fresh Halal-slaughtered goat meat to the members of a growing Somali immigrant community in Northwestern Wisconsin and possibly to larger numbers of Somali immigrants living in the Minneapolis, Minn., region.