This year FMPP will emphasize three priorities during the 2010 grant period: (1) focus on the recruitment and retention of new farmers to participate at farmers markets and other direct-to-consumer farm marketing outlets; (2) develop professional expertise for farmers market managers, farmers/vendors, boards and organizations to effectively manage and/or operate farmers markets and other direct marketing enterprises; and (3) improve food access in local, rural and underserved communities to promote the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms.
Since AMS began tracking farmers markets in 1994, the number has grown by nearly 4,000 nationwide. Currently, nearly 5,274 farmers markets operate nationwide, up from 4,685 in 2008, an increase of 13 percent. AMS maintains a comprehensive list of farmers markets, posted online at www.ams.udsa.gov/farmersmarkets.
AMS also has developed two new tools for prospective grant applicants. The FMPP Pre-Application Guide for 2010 helps readers assess their readiness for the grant application and implementation process. AMS has also captured its on-site FMPP grant-writing training in a detailed PowerPoint presentation that provides step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the application forms. You can access both tools on the FMPP website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP.
More information on the "Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food" initiative is available at http://www.usda.gov/KnowYourFarmer.
Information on how to apply for a grant will be published in the Mar. 1, 2010, issue of the Federal Register and posted on the AMS website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP. Applications and proposals must be postmarked no later than the close of business on April 15, 2010. Applications received after April 15, 2010, will not be considered.
For more information, contact Carmen Humphrey, Program Manager, Farmers Market Promotion Program, AMS, 1800 M Street, N.W., Room 3012-South Tower, Washington, D.C. 20036; phone (202) 694-4000; fax (202) 694-5949.