In 2011 the VT Legislature provided $40,000 to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) for the creation of the Vermont Local Food Market Development Grant Program. This program was designed to encourage local food market development opportunities with an institutional focus across the state. The Agency is now accepting applications, of up to $5,000, from Vermont farmers, producer groups, food community groups, and food hubs to further institutional market development. Vermont Local Food Market Development grant funds are intended to increase Vermont producers’ access to institutional markets and to increase the quantity of local food available in Vermont institutions. Grants will be distributed through a competitive application review process to agricultural producers, producer groups, food-focused community groups, or food hubs.
To qualify for funding consideration, applicants must either be a Vermont producer in pursuit of institutional market development, a community group, producer group, or a food hub that will directly support Vermont producers’ access to institutional market expansion. All project funds must be expensed by June 30, 2012.
Eligible uses of funds for increased institutional market access include:
1. Infrastructure Development: on-farm capital improvements, equipment purchases
2. Market Access and Development: coordination of matchmaking events, web platform development
3. Farm Planning and Education: farm business plan development, consumer education
Approximately 75% are designated for direct distribution to Vermont agricultural producers and 25% are designated for dissemination to community groups or food hubs working with the Vermont agricultural community. Farmer or producer applicants must demonstrate 25% of total project cost in matching funds, while food hubs or community groups must demonstrate 50% of total project cost in matching support.
Applications can be found on the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets website at: www.vermontagriculture.com/news/grants or by contacting Abbey Willard, Local Foods Administrator, at the VT Agency of Agriculture at 802-828-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications must be received at the office of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture 116 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05620 by 5 PM on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Submission via email is preferred.