On October 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service awarded over $64 million for 185 rural economic revitalization projects to expand and strengthen local and regional food systems and increase the availability of locally-grown agricultural products.
The funding will be distributed through the Local Agriculture Market Program’s (LAMP) Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs (FMLFPP) and the Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) grant program.
“These grant programs provide crucial funding for projects, including farm to institution efforts, that will improve community access to fresh, locally sourced food and strengthen market opportunities for local and regional food producers,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “USDA is committed to supporting states and territories as they administer these programs across the nation.”
FMLFPP is implemented through two grant programs, the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).
The goal of the program is to help revitalize rural places by developing, coordinating, and expanding local and regional food systems.
FMPP funds projects that support producer-to-consumer markets such as farmers markets, roadside stands, agritourism activities, community-supported agriculture programs (CSA), and online sales.
This year, the program is awarding $13 million to 55 projects that will work towards capacity-building or community development training and technical assistance.
Central Market Trust Business Development Program in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is receiving an FMPP grant to facilitate the expansion of programming outside the market. The Trust will establish an online ordering platform and establish delivery mechanisms for online orders, benefitting low-income customers and those who low access to fresh and healthy foods. The Trust will also create a marketing plan for new and existing services and product lines.
LFPP grants support local and regional food business enterprises that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer to consumer marketing.
The awarded projects focus on activities such as supporting the processing, aggregation, distribution, and storage of local and regional food products; developing value-added products; and facilitating regional food chain coordination. LFPP is awarding $31.8 million in fiscal year 2022 funding to 94 projects.
Southwest Colorado Local Food Hub-and-Node Connectivity Project is being awarded an LFPP grant to support collaboration between five nonprofits and five food hubs covering one-quarter of the state that will increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products.
The project will expand and connect the infrastructure of five food hubs and develop the wholesale market for local/regional farmers through a 3-year regional marketing, education, and outreach campaign; agritourism events; and five speed-dating events between chefs/buyers and producers in the region.
Producers across the region who want to scale up their businesses will gain reliable pathways to new, wider markets.
Through RFSP, $19 million is being awarded to 36 partnerships across 24 states. The program provides funding to partnerships that connect public and private resources in planning and developing local or regional food systems.
RFSP also supports partnerships in developing relationships between local and regional producers, processors, and intermediaries, and institutions, such as schools, hospitals, governments to increase local and regional foods in institutional cafeterias and meal programs.
Practical Farmers of Iowa will receive an RFSP grant award to scale up the institutional markets that food hubs have developed by expanding food hub capacity to capture more institutional sales, onboard new farmers, and grow sales territory to equitably serve more of the state.
Food Hub partners will maximize their added capacity, along with technical assistance, to add more farmer vendors, institutional customers, and territory to their individual businesses and expand the footprint of farm-to-institution efforts.
LAMP and its accompanying grant programs are funded through the 2018 Farm Bill and FY2022 annual appropriations. In March, USDA announced it received additional funding through the American Rescue Plan to fund competitive grant programs to support local and regional food systems. The additional funding was allocated to fiscal year 2022 LFPP and RFSP grant awards.
AMS supports U.S. food and agricultural product market opportunities, while increasing consumer access to fresh, healthy foods through applied research, technical services, and congressionally funded grants.
These projects will support the development, coordination and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and enterprises and value-added agricultural products.