Senator Stabenow Announces $210,060 to Grow Northwest Michigan Farmers Markets

New grant funded in Stabenow’s 2018 Farm Bill will promote Northwest Michigan farmers markets, help farmers sell local food to families

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today announced federal support to help expand five farmers markets in Northwest Michigan. This investment comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers Market Promotion Program in the 2018 Farm Bill, which Senator Stabenow co-authored.


“Farmers markets spur economic development in local communities, connect more families with Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables, and create new markets for local farmers,” said Senator Stabenow. “This is a win-win for families and local food producers, who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.”


The Health Department of Northwest Michigan will receive $210,060 to promote five farmers markets in Northwest Michigan and grow their customer base among residents and tourists. The project will enhance the visibility of farmers markets through outreach to customers, training for market managers, and strengthened digital tools to help consumers find nearby farmers markets. This project will also encourage families who receive food assistance to purchase more locally-grown fruits and vegetables by promoting the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles the value of food assistance dollars spent on local produce.


“We are grateful for the opportunity to build upon our existing relationships and work in partnership with 5 local farmers markets across Northwest Michigan to increase the access to, and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products. As a rural region, our farmers markets are an important part of both our local food system and economy. Using a multi-layered approach to facilitate growth of the market and to increase both visitors and sales will benefit not only the market and the farmers, but residents, visitors and the economy” said Natalie Kasiborski, Deputy Health Officer at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.


In the 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Stabenow secured permanent funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program by including it as part of the new Local Agriculture Market Program. The permanent funds will ensure there are investments available for farmers markets for years to come. The 2018 Farm Bill also funds Michigan’s Double Up Bucks program through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program. Senator Stabenow also secured permanent funds for this important program to make fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable for families.