Already a veritable staple in Michigan’s Great Southwest, farmers markets will get a major boost from the federal government in the new year in the form of a $362,000 grant to grow farmers markets statewide in Michigan. That’s the word today from Michigan’s U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
This afternoon, Stabenow, the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, announced the new federal support to help expand Michigan farmers markets all across the state. The investment comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program in the 2018 Farm Bill, which Senator Stabenow co-authored.
She says, “Farmers markets spur economic development in local communities, connect more families with Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables, and create new markets for local farmers,” adding, “This is a win-win for everyone.”
The Michigan Farmers Market Association will receive $362,791 to promote farmers markets throughout the state and grow their customer base among residents and tourists alike. The project will enhance the visibility of farmers markets through outreach to customers, training for market managers, and strengthened digital tools to help consumers find nearby farmers markets.
Amanda Shreve is Executive Director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association. She says, “The Michigan Farmers Market Association is very excited to have been awarded a grant from the Farmers Market Promotion Program,” and tells us, “This funding will expand consumer awareness of, attendance, and purchasing at Michigan’s 300 farmers markets. The project will include a statewide outreach campaign and a robust data collection plan to document and assess the impact on farmers markets throughout our state.
Shreve adds, “We applaud Senator Stabenow on her work in the Farm Bill process to ensure resources are invested to help connect consumers to healthy, local food and support the viability of farms and food businesses that power local food systems.”
In the 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Stabenow secured permanent funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program by including it as part of the new Local Agriculture Market Program. The permanent funds will ensure there are investments available for farmers markets for years to come.