July 1 deadline for farmers’ market grants

Staff Report

CARBONDALE, Ill.—An advocate for rural communities, Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon urges local food producers to apply for a federal grant that promotes farmers’ markets.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced the availability of $10 million in competitive grants for FY 2011 through the Farmers Market Promotion Program. Deadline to apply is July 1.

The grants are targeted at projects that help improve and expand farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.

Priority status will be granted to those projects that expand healthy food choices in food desserts. Entities eligible to apply for grant funding include agricultural cooperatives, local governments and nonprofit corporations.

“I encourage local food producers across the state to take advantage of this opportunity to grow their farmers’ markets,” Simon said. “Expanding access to local foods promotes healthy eating and strengthens our economy.”

Simon serves as chairman of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, which is focused on developing markets for locally-grown foods by removing barriers to farmers’ markets, as well as encouraging compliance with the Local Food, Farms and Jobs Act.

For additional information about grant eligibility and how to apply, visit http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/FMPP.

From the June 22-28 issue

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