Producers, Extension agents, farmers market managers, local governments and groups interested in connecting agricultural producers and consumers through local food systems are encouraged to attend grant writing workshops in Nashville and Memphis this April. Joseph Donaldson, an assistant professor of agricultural leadership and education with University of Tennessee Extension, says the enormous interest in local foods has prompted the USDA to offer grants to strengthen local and regional food systems.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing Service is making more than $26 million in grant funding available through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. The grant writing workshops are being presented to help potential applicants with the grant process. The grant funds are competitive and will be divided equally between the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). FMPP grants support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands and agritourism. LFPP funding supports projects that develop, improve and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, aggregation and storage of locally or regionally produced food products.
These workshops will focus on effective grant writing strategies for these programs and the skills learned will also be useful for applying to other USDA grant programs. The Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program workshops are open to all individuals.
The workshop will be repeated in two locations:
· * Thursday, April 7, 2016 – Agricultural Information and Technology Building, Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, Tennessee
· * Friday, April 8, 2016 – Agricenter International Amphitheater, 7777 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, Tennessee
The workshops will begin with check-in and networking at 9:30 a.m. Sessions will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. CDT. The training is offered at no cost to participants, and lunch will be provided. Advance registration is required by April 6 as this will allow preparations for lunch and workshop materials to be made. Contact your local county Extension Office to register.
Workshop instructors will be Donaldson, Hal Pepper from the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, and Arvazena Clardy from Tennessee State University.
Participants will gain an understanding of:
· * Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Food Promotion Program grants
· * How to develop an idea for a grant program
· * How to prepare a Farmers Market Local Food Promotion Program proposal
· * How Farmers Market Local Food Promotion Program proposals are reviewed and scored
· * How to prepare the USDA application
These workshops are open to everyone and are especially applicable to:
· * Producers
· * Producer Associations
· * Extension agents
· * State and Local Governments
· * County Economic Development Councils
· * Food Policy Councils
· * Farmers Market Associations
· * Farm-to-Table/Fork/Other Organizations
· * Minority Farmer Associations
· * Veterans
· * Food Service/Nutrition Professionals
· * Groups representing minorities and underserved audiences
These workshops are funded by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and facilitated by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The project is coordinated by the USDA-NIFA Regional Rural Development Centers.
For more information contact Donaldson at 865-974-7371
Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu