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Posts tagged: Farmers Market Promotion Program

Farmers Market Promotion Program: Expanding Food Access Through Direct Marketing

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rings the bell opening the 2011 Farmers Market located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Friday, Jun. 3, 2011.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack rings the bell opening the 2011 Farmers Market located at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Friday, Jun. 3, 2011.

As the opening of this season’s USDA Farmers Market occurs today in Washington, D.C., Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced approximately $10 million is available to expand direct marketing opportunities and help to eliminate food deserts and increase food access in low-income communities in the United States through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). By funding projects that increase access to healthy and affordable food while expanding market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, the Farmers Market Promotion Program continues to contribute to the economic and physical health of communities around the country. Read more »

Rhode Island Agriculture Day

I was honored to accompany Governor Lincoln Chafee at the Rhode Island Agriculture Day held at the Statehouse in Providence.  In my remarks to farmers, agriculture organizations, legislators, and government officials, I emphasized the Obama Administration’s commitment to Rural America, and complimented producers for being a model for the nation in direct marketing of agricultural products.

Ten percent of Rhode Island’s agricultural sales move through direct marketing channels such as farmers markets, roadside stands and CSA’s.  In addition, Rhode Island has developed a successful Farm-to-School program and a Farm-to-Plate program with local restaurants. Read more »

How One Area Agency on Aging is Leading the Way

Deputy Secretary Merrigan and Farmers Market staff in Charlottesville.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan far left shares a humors moment with , Local Food Hub Director Marisa Vrooman, USDA Rural Development State Director Ellen Davis, Local Food Hub Director Kate Collier and Local Food Hub staffer, Alan Moore.

“The Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) are myth-busters, plain and simple,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan at a recent funding announcement held at JABA’s main office and Adult Daycare Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Read more »

Farmers Markets as an Engine of Revitalization

The Historic Downtown Farmers Market in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The Historic Downtown Farmers Market in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

“It is our belief that by supporting our local farmers today, we can ensure that there will be farms in our community tomorrow.” - Kent Myers, former City of Hot Springs Manager

Recently Hot Springs, Arkansas dedicated its new Farmers Market Pavilion at the Historic Downtown Farmers Market in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  This dedication is the culmination of years of effort that began with a Farmers Market Promotion Program grant in 2006 from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Read more »

Bringing the Market to You

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide

Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide

Cross-Posted from the Let’s Move! Blog

Have you ever wanted fresh, local produce but didn’t know how to find the nearest farmers market?  The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) makes it easy with the National Farmers Market search engine, which lists more than 6,100 markets across the nation.  Markets can be searched by name, city, zip code, and several other keyword fields. Read more »

USDA Programs at a Glance

The Department of Agriculture is a big institution, with a $149 billion budget and 114,000 employees.  When Secretary Vilsack asked me to spearhead the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, my first impulse wasn’t to create new programs and authorities, but rather to figure out how better to use the resources at hand.  Of course, I was aware of certain USDA programs that have, for years, focused on local food, such as the Farmers Market Promotion Program within the Agricultural Marketing Service.  I was also aware that Congress, as part of the 2008 farm bill, took new interest in local foods by, for example, directing that USDA set aside 5% of funding to promote local foods within the Business and Industry Loan Program in the Rural Business and Cooperative Service.  Finally, I knew many existing USDA programs, while not dedicated to local food, could be harnessed to better support local and regional food systems. Read more »