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NYA agriculture commissioner: $700,000 to support farmers markets


Tue, Sep 26th 2023 01:40 pm

Second round of funding continues to help farmers markets make significant improvements, reaching more consumers and providing a boost to farmers; round 1 funding awarded earlier this year

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced $700,000 is available to New York’s farmers markets through the second round of the Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant program.

A press release stated, “Grant funding will help farmers’ markets across the state make significant improvements by enhancing infrastructure, online sales, and delivery systems.

“Funding for the program was included in the 2024 New York state budget and builds on Gov. Hochul’s commitment to ensure a resilient food system in New York state. Awards for round 1 of the program were announced earlier this year.”

Ball said, “The Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant program is an important part of New York’s ongoing effort to strengthen our food supply chain. By facilitating online sales, delivery capacity, and infrastructure improvements, funding provided through this program will help our farmers and producers reach more consumers and provide an economic boost to our farmers. I thank Gov. Hochul for her continued commitment to our agricultural industry and encourage all eligible entities to apply.”

Funding available through the Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant program will be available for projects such as modernizing the delivery of products; repairing, replacing or enhancing market infrastructure; and developing or scaling up marketing and outreach efforts. Projects that help the food system remain resilient, especially when supply chain disruptions occur, will be given priority.

Eligible applicants include registered not-for-profit organizations; local municipalities; business improvement districts; public benefit corporations; and Indian tribal organizations that have experience operating at least one farmers’ market. The program will provide $400,000 for larger markets (40 or more vendors),s with awards ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, and $300,000 for smaller markets (less than 40 vendors), with awards ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. Entities awarded funding in the previous round of the program are not eligible to apply.

For more information on the Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant program and how to apply, visit agriculture.ny.gov/rfp-0317-new-york-state-farmers-market-resiliency-grant-program. The deadline for proposals is 3 p.m. Nov. 15. Applications for funding must conform to the format provided in the Grants Gateway. A webinar with program information will take place at 11 a.m. Oct. 3. Learn more and register.

Farmers’ Market Federation of New York Executive Director Diane Eggert said, “While COVID upended many businesses, farmers markets kept going. The food supply was uninterrupted and managed to keep those connections between producers and consumers open and thriving. But it came at a cost to farmers market organizations as they struggled to accommodate all requirements to keep everyone safe. This grant will help those markets and farmers to move their businesses forward to ensure a continued, thriving marketplace that brings farmers and consumers together so everyone can enjoy the bounty of New York-grown and -produced foods.”

A press release noted, “New York state continues to prioritize increasing access to food for all New Yorkers through efforts including the FreshConnect ‘Fresh2You’ initiative, Nourish New York, and significant investments in the FY 2024 budget that support food supply chain enhancements.

“The New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy convenes to provide expertise on how to address food security, strengthen the food supply chain, and provide New York state residents with greater access to healthy, locally-grown food. The Council on Hunger and Food Policy released a report in early 2022, outlining recommendations for how to improve the resiliency and self-reliance of the food system statewide. The council has additionally established an improving urban and rural consumer access to locally produced healthy foods working group to connect upstate and downstate New York on food procurement and distribution, which released a report in February.

“Farmers markets, farm stands and mobile markets are crucial components to a healthy food system. Today, New York has more than 400 farmers markets, 250 farm stands, and 10 mobile market operators. They provide outlets for agricultural producers to meet the rising consumer demand for a variety of fresh, affordable and convenient products grown directly from the farm. New York state – through the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Department of Health, Office for the Aging, and Office of Temporary Disability Assistance – administers several programs that help low-income families, seniors, and veterans access fresh, healthy food at participating markets.

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