Farm Bill will provide new funding for regional food systems projects

by Nessa on February 4, 2014

It appears that there is finally an agreement on the Farm Bill. Although it is far from perfect, it does include many grant and loan programs that have the potential to fund the development of local and regional food systems.

My goal for this brief post is just to introduce a few of the key opportunities available to non-profit organizations. (Future posts will cover 2014 Farm Bill programs applicable to lenders and to agricultural producers).

  • The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (formerly the Farmers Market Promotion Program). This program will provide grants (probably with a maximum of $100K for 1-2 year projects) to both direct-to-consumer projects (farmers markets, CSAs, mobile markets) and projects supporting local and regional food enterprises through processing, aggregation/distribution, and marketing (community kitchens, food hubs, farm-to-institution programs). $30 million will be available annually.


  • The Community Food Projects Program. This program helps nonprofits with a one-time infusion of federal assistance to establish and carryout multipurpose community food projects focused on helping low-income communities increase access to fresh, more nutritious food supplies. Projects are funded from $10,000 to $300,000 and from 1 to 3 years. This program has always been way too small — only $4-5 million per year. This Farm Bill just about doubles the amount to $9-10 million per year. Still too small, but better!


  • The Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program. This new program will provide assistance for organizations running farmers market programs that encourage increased fruit and vegetables consumption by SNAP (food stamp) recipients. Details are not worked out yet, but the program is expected to provide up to $20 million annually.

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