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USDA grants available for farm marketing projects

Seeking opportunities to expand your marketing efforts and increase access to local foods? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting grant applicants for the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), according to a recent announcement by USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.  The agency is offering a total of $10 million in grant money for marketing operations such as farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture, and roadside stands.  The grants are intended to help make local agricultural products more widely available throughout the country.

The USDA, working with the Departments of the Treasury and Health and Human Services, aims to increase access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food for all Americans, while expanding markets for farmers and ranchers.  Projects that expand healthy food choices in food deserts or low-income areas will also receive consideration for grants.

“These grants will put resources into rural and urban economies, and help strengthen efforts to provide access to nutritious and affordable foods,” said Merrigan.  “This program not only supports the health and well-being of local communities but also the economic health of their farms and businesses.”

The grants are available through a competitive application process on  Information on applying for an FMPP grant can be found on the FMPP’s web page.  Applications must be submitted by May 21, 2012.

The FMPP is part of the USDA’s commitment to supporting local communities.  These practices are highlighted in the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, a digital guide to USDA support for local food systems.  The Compass includes an interactive map of the United States, along with a narrative about the Compass.