At the opening of the FRESHFARM Market by the White House Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the awardees of the 2009 Farmers Market Promotion Program. Eighty-six grants totaling more than $4.5 million were awarded to encourage and support the viability of farmers markets and direct marketing projects nationwide. A national directory of farmers markets is available at www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets.
Funds will be used to establish, expand and promote farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities by eligible entities in 37 states. Secretary Vilsack said these grants will help continue the recent expansion of farmers markets across the country to increase access to locally grown foods for consumers, and increase incomes for farmers.
Vilsack emphasized that low-income consumers will particularly benefit through the program's emphasis on increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables through the use of electronic benefit transfer.