ALBANY — New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that $700,000 is available to New York’s farmers’ markets through the Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant Program. Grant funding will help farmers strengthen their markets and make local food more accessible to consumers by establishing online sales, improving infrastructure, and enhancing marketing and promotion efforts. Funding for the program was included in this year’s enacted budget and is a part of Governor Hochul’s State of the State commitment to New York’s agricultural industry and increasing the resiliency of the state’s food supply chain following COVID-19.
Commissioner Ball said, “The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that it is imperative to have a strong, flexible, streamlined food supply chain right here in New York State. The Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant Program is one more facet of Governor Hochul’s plan to support that supply chain, providing farmers’ markets with funding needed to offer online sales and invest in infrastructure and promotion, and ultimately reach more consumers and get more local New York foods onto tables across the state.”
Funding available through the Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant Program will be available for projects that help markets build out infrastructure, including booths and signage, and electronic infrastructure like internet platform development for online sales capabilities. Projects can also include marketing and promotion initiatives for markets across the state, expanding their reach to even more consumers.
Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local municipalities, business improvement districts, local chambers of commerce, and public benefit corporations that currently operate one or more farmers’ markets in New York State. Funding will be divided into two sections, with $300,000 dedicated to grant awards of $10,000 to $50,000, and $400,000 dedicated to awards of $50,000 to $100,000.
For more information on the program and how to apply, visit http://www.nyscr.ny.gov/adsOpen.cfm?ID=1F3BDFB9-A1D1-450F-8B04-6611784562CD. The deadline for proposals is 4:00 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022. Applications for funding must conform to the format provided in the Grants Gateway. A webinar with program information will take place on November 17. Learn more and register.
Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers’ Market Federation of New York said, “The pandemic created significant hardships for farmers’ markets to ensure they could continue to connect farmers with local customers. The COVID-19 guidelines were costly to maintain, in both dollars and in human capital, but markets knew it was critical to maintain the marketplace to keep farmers whole and customers connected to local food. This grant opportunity will go a long way to assist markets in recovering from the costs of the pandemic and maintaining vibrant marketplaces with new, innovative ways to build relationships between farmers and consumers.”
Funding for the Farmers’ Market Resiliency Grant Program was announced in Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State Address as part of the Governor’s commitment to creating a resilient food system that can withstand extreme events, while being accessible to all New Yorkers.
New York State has launched several groundbreaking programs in recent years to strengthen the food supply chain and improve access to healthy, locally grown foods across the State. The State’s Food Supply Working Group, which met during the pandemic, released a report in early 2022 outlining recommendations for how to improve the resiliency and self-reliance of the food system statewide. The State has additionally established a working group on Improving Urban and Rural Consumer Access to Locally Produced Healthy Foods to connect upstate and downstate New York on food procurement and distribution, which is preparing to release a report in the coming months. Convening experts to strengthen the connection between upstate and downstate will facilitate easier delivery of fresh, local, nutritious foods to those New Yorkers who need it most.
Farmers’ markets, farm stands, and mobile markets are crucial components to a healthy food system. Today, New York has more than 400 farmers’ markets, 250 farm stands, and 10 mobile markets. They provide outlets for agricultural producers to meet the rising consumer demand for a variety of fresh, affordable, and convenient products grown directly from the farm. New York State—through the Department of Agriculture and Markets, Department of Health, Office for the Aging, and Office of Temporary Disability Assistance—administers several programs that help low-income families, seniors, and Veterans access fresh, healthy food at participating markets.
–NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets