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Iowa Grant Workshop to Support Local Foods
April 22, 2015 @ 8:00 am - 11:30 pm
AMES, Iowa – Grant-writing workshops designed to help potential applicants understand, develop and submit their federal grant applications for the Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program are being offered in every U.S. state this spring through a unique collaboration among federal, state and regional partners. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is partnering with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture to conduct workshops in Iowa. This effort is known as the Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project.
Register for the Iowa event to be held in Ames April 22 at the Hansen Agriculture Learning Center, 2615 Mortenson Road, from 8 to 11:30 a.m. The grant workshop is one of two professional development options offered during the Regional Food Systems Working Group spring meeting.
“The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is a key to USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems,” said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo. “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.”
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is coordinating the workshops through the Regional Rural Development Centers, and Cooperative Extension System educators will provide training in all regions of the country. NIFA and all partners will conduct outreach to raise awareness of AMS grant opportunities and increase participation in the programs. The AMS and NIFA collaborative effort for this innovative national training project will be directed by Stephan J. Goetz of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development based at Penn State.
“In the history of the Regional Rural Development Centers this is an unprecedented collaboration in terms of the scope and reach of a single project,” said Goetz. “We are pleased to be a part of this partnership effort and expect that it may become a model for efficient delivery of federal educational programs in the future.”
A list of upcoming grant workshop dates and locations can be found at http://www.amsta.net. 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.
With $30 million authorized annually by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) through fiscal year 2018, AMS’ Farmers’ Market and Local Food Promotion Program awards competitive grants to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets. 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.
These investments are part of USDA’s commitment to strengthening local and regional food systems through projects that recruit and train farmers, expand economic opportunities, and increase access to healthy foods. USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative coordinates USDA’s support for local and regional food systems. Projects aligned with these efforts can be found on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. For more information on AMS visit www.ams.usda.gov, and for more on NIFA visit www.nifa.usda.gov.