Grants available for projects to get farm products to areas in need

vegetables from Microsoft clip artThe FreshConnect program, which brings fresh food from New York State farms to underserved communities, will award competitive grants to support projects that make New York farm products more accessible to low-income residents and areas in need.

The deadline is April 2.

In 2011, Governor Cuomo launched the FreshConnect program to create new farmers markets and support existing markets that provided fresh produce to high-need areas throughout the state.

The initiative is now expanding to include not just farmers’ markets, but other projects that connect underserved communities with New York farm products. Potential projects include:

  • Programs to increase access to farm products at food pantries
  • Delivery programs that send farm goods to areas in need
  • Programs for low-income individuals to access food directly from a farm, including through Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)
  • New farmers’ markets that are located in low-income neighborhoods
  • Satellite markets that purchase produce from an existing market and resell it in an area that cannot support its own market

Grants to support organizations that implement a FreshConnect project will be awarded through a competitive process. Regional market authorities, public benefit corporations, not-for-profit corporations, and local government entities are eligible to apply, including farmers’ markets that participated in the FreshConnect program last year. A Request for Proposals and application are  available at the Department of Agriculture’s website.

This year’s FreshConnect program will also continue the FreshConnect Checks initiative, a rebate incentive that encourages Food Stamp recipients to use their benefits at farmers’ markets.  In 2011, over $2 million in Food Stamp sales occurred at farmers’ markets throughout the state.


Photo from Microsoft Office.

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