Projects in 39 states, DC, and Puerto Rico receive funding...
Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan on Friday announced that the Department of Agriculture has awarded more than $9 million in grants through the Farmers Market Promotions Program. The awards are designed to "bolster the connection between agricultural producers and their consumers while improving access to healthy food and strengthening local economies," the agency said. Projects in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico received funding.
In non-techno speak, the grants will be used in projects designed to make it easier for people to buy from their closest food producer, keeping dollars in local communities while making healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables more available. A major goal of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign and USDA's supporting MyPlate initiative is getting people to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables at every meal, in keeping with the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
"This year's Farmers Market Promotion Program awards are diverse and illustrate the many different ways farmers are directly connecting to communities and consumers," Merrigan said. "From starting up mobile markets to helping new farmers and ranchers, these grants will create new economic opportunities and encourage consumers to eat healthier."
The projects that received funding "recruit and train farmers, expand economic opportunities, increase access to healthy foods and use social media to link markets and vendors," USDA said. Projects awarded funding are located in hospitals, agritourism organizations, educational organizations, and "initiatives that support American Indian and Alaskan Native communities, and new opportunities for Latino, refugee and immigrant farmers."
Download the full awards list here [PDF].
An interactive view of USDA programs that support local and regional foods, including the Farmers Market Promotions Program, is available at the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. The KYF Compass is a digital guide to USDA resources related to local and regional food systems, and has an interactive U.S. map of USDA-supported local and regional food projects, and an accompanying narrative documenting the results of this work through case studies, photos and video content.
Visit LetsMove.gov for more information on Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity campaign.