Florida Farmers

USDA Announces Funding Opportunities For Food System Initiatives

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently announced several funding opportunities for good system initiatives. 

“Federal grants have the potential to inject substantial funds into community food projects, but the application process can be daunting,” said Hillsborough County Extension Food System Program Coordinator Monica Petrella. “I am here to help.”

The Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) is an opportunity for federal funding of projects that develop, coordinate, and expand local and regional food business enterprises that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer to consumer marketing to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products.  

Grant can be used for the planning stages of establishing or expanding a local and regional good business enterprise or to improve or expand a food business that supports locally and regionally produced agricultural products and good system infrastructure by performing feasibility studies, market research, training, and technical assistance for the business enterprise and/or for producers working with the business enterprise.  A 10 percent or 25 percent match is required for this program.

Examples in Hillsborough County, according to Petrella, could include:

  • Funding a feasibility study for a shared commercial kitchen
  • Expanding a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) endeavor or delivery options for local products
  • Developing a Food entrepreneurship program to expand value-added products
  • Food safety trainings for wholesale markets

Another is the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) that funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand direct producer-to-consumer markets to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced  agricultural products by developing, coordinating, expanding and providing outreach, training and technical assistance to domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, CSA agriculture programs, agritourism activities, online sales or other direct producer-to-consumer )including direct producer-to-retail direct producer-to-restaurant and direct producer-to-institutional marketing) market opportunities.  This program also requires either a 10 per cent or 25 per cent match.

Some examples of programs that could be funded under the FMPP include:

  • Farmer/producer trainings on eCommerce platforms
  • Creating direct markets to connect community gardens to food pantries
  • Expanding agritourism opportunities for local producers
  • Funding a feasibility study to understand how our community institutions (hospitals, schools, universities) can procure directly from producers.

Petrella noted that grant applications are due June 21, 2021.   For additional information and assistance, email Petrella at PetrellaML@HillsboroughCounty.org.

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