CLEVELAND — The U.S. Department of Agriculture released more than $9 million in grants to organizations across 39 states bolster the connection between farmers and their consumers.
The grants are part of the Farmers Market Promotion Program.
U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement Sept. 21 in Ohio, which has more than 6,800 Ohio farms that sell directly to consumers.
In Ohio, this year’s funding includes:
$89,544 to The Ohio State University Office of Sponsored Programs (new grant), to expand the consumption of locally grown farm products, particularly among SNAP recipients by producer training; technical assistance to 100 farmers; tracking the progress of markets that have established new EBT (food stamp/electronic benefit transfer cards) capacity;
$38,855 to City of Kent, Ohio, to promote the use of EBT at the Haymaker Farmers Market, and educate low-income residents about the use of EBT;
$39,995 to Famicos Foundation Inc., Cleveland, for a promotional campaign in two designated food deserts, including mailings, door-to-door canvassing and automated phone calls to educate federal food program recipients about the use of EBT at the Gateway 105 Farmers Market to increase market sales;
$82,553 to Logan County Farmers Market, Zanesfield, Ohio, to outreach to low-income residents, vendor workshops to teach growing, handling, and packaging, and educational events planning and community fundraising;
$100,000 to Flying HIGH Inc., Youngstown, Ohio, to recruit and train young urban adults as farmers to grow and sell produce at new farmers markets throughout the city of Youngstown and Mahoning County;
$75,642 to Rural Action, Trimble, Ohio, to coordinate a collaborative effort to increase market access for small rural farmers markets in southeastern Appalachia Ohio through improving storage and distribution for farm vendors, increasing market sales through social media marketing, and providing training and assistance in financial management, branding, food safety, and entrepreneurship.
Grants awarded in Pennsylvania include:
$89,546 to Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, Millheim, Pa., to expand a direct producer-to-consumer marketing program by broadening the messaging of Buy Fresh Buy Local;
$73,413 to Nurture Nature Center, Inc., Easton, to provide Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery to an Hispanic food desert, to educate students about healthy foods through personal contact with farmers and classroom activities, and to expand food availability by training farmers in direct retail practices and advertising farm products.
Since 2006, the Farmers Market Promotion Program has awarded over $32 million to establish, expand, and promote farmers markets and direct producer-to-consumer marketing.
The full list of awards granted for fiscal year 2012 is available at www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/FMPP.