USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service said Tuesday it is partnering with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture to provide assistance to groups interested in submitting grant applications for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program supports farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer activities, while the Local Food Promotion Program supports enterprises that aggregate, store, distribute and process local and regional food.
AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo said the programs are part of USDA's plan to revitalize rural economies.
"The grant workshops will ensure that more communities and businesses across the country can participate in the competitive grant process with proposals that create real economic opportunities and help meet the growing demand for locally and regionally produced food," Alonzo said in a released statement.
The AMS-NIFA partnership is through the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project. NIFA is coordinating the workshops through the Regional Rural Development Centers.
Cooperative Extension System educators will provide training in all regions of the country, and NIFA will publicize AMS grant opportunities.
A list of upcoming grant workshop dates and locations can be found at the AMSTA website. More workshops will be added soon, and the State representatives listed on the website can be contacted for additional information about upcoming workshops.
Some of the workshop sessions will be recorded and available for online viewing for those not able to attend in person, USDA said.
The AMS and NIFA collaborative effort for the national training project will be directed by Dr. Stephan J. Goetz of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development based at Penn State University, USDA said.