Senator Stabenow Announces Support for West Michigan Farmers Markets and Local Food Initiatives

Friday, October 02, 2015

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced $300,290 for six West Michigan farmers markets and local food initiatives. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs, which help expand access to farmers markets and food hubs and develop new opportunities for farmers to sell locally.

"When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan," said Senator Stabenow. "Local food hubs and farmers markets connect families and small businesses with local farmers, which makes it easier to buy Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables. We all know buying local is a win for our economy. It's also a win for Michigan agriculture and consumers and these grants will help make that process easier across Michigan."

Support for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs was greatly expanded in the 2014 Farm Bill, which was authored by Senator Stabenow and signed into law by President Obama in Michigan last year. These grant programs help improve and expand farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities.

Project details below:

Muskegon Area First will receive $24,955 to help develop a for-profit food hub.

City of Kentwood will receive $43,142 to establish and recruit farmers and vendors to participate in the Kentwood Farmers Market. It will also help Kentwood develop a partnership with the Kent District Library to offer educational opportunities for vendors and consumers.

City of Muskegon will receive $75,000 to offer and promote a winter farmers market. This support will also help Muskegon educate the community about the local food options and expand a children's educational program called the Power of Produce Club.

Sprout Urban Farms in Battle Creek will receive $90,900 to promote local farmers, growers and producers by supporting Community Supported Agriculture, which allows people to buy into a community farm in return for fruit, vegetables and other agricultural products throughout the growing season.

Muskegon Heights will receive $35,000 to expand access to healthy foods for people who often face difficulties accessing fresh, nutritious food. They will also use the support to conduct healthy cooking demonstrations and recruit produce vendors and food truck operators to the Muskegon Heights City Market.

City of Allegan will receive $31,293 to expand services and products and encourage people to buy fresh and local produce.