USDA has announced the recipients of the 2010 Farmers Market Promotion Program. In making the announcement, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said many of these projects support increasing access to healthy foods in underserved communities or food deserts by creating direct-to-consumer marketing channels and making electronic benefits transfer available in farmers markets.
The program exceeded its mandate to award at least 10% of total FMPP funds for new electronic benefits transfer projects at farmers markets. More than one million dollars will go to 27 new EBT projects, with another eight projects receiving more that $235,000 in support of existing EBT projects. These projects will help increase access to locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
In an effort to improve rural economies, approximately 62% of this year's awardees will recruit and train the next generation of small farmers and support the continued viability of current producers. Approximately 28% of the awards offer further professional development opportunities for farmers to strengthen their business management skills, including training in risk management, certification, and good agricultural practices.