A collaborative effort between state and national organizations aims to teach interested individuals skills to understand, develop, write and submit federal grant applications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program.

The Agricultural Marketing Service Technical Assistance Project will offer two sessions focusing on these skills. The sessions will take place in April, with one session in Beckley and the other in Morgantown.

On Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Morgantown session will take place on WVU’s Evansdale Campus in the Agricultural Sciences Building.

The Beckley session will take place at Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on Monday, April 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Registration is available online. This is a free event, but registration is required. All materials and refreshments will be provided.

The sessions are a collaboration of West Virginia University Extension Service, West Virginia State University Extension, West Virginia Department of Agriculture, the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

For those unable to attend in person, the Morgantown session will be simultaneously broadcast online, but in-person attendance is strongly encouraged.

According to WVU Extension Agricultural Economist Dee Singh-Knights, the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program is a key to the USDA’s efforts to revitalize rural economies by supporting local and regional food systems.

“The grant workshops ensure that more communities and businesses across the country can participate in the competitive grant process,” she said. “We teach you to write proposals that create real economic opportunities and help meet the growing demand for locally and regionally produced food.”

The workshops are coordinated by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Regional Rural Development Centers. Cooperative Extension educators provide similar training in all regions of the country.

“The impact of programs like this grant-writing workshop can be felt throughout the country,” WVDA Marketing Specialist Cindy Martel noted. “We’re empowering farmers and producers to find or improve their access to funding sources.”

The Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, authorizes $30 million annually through 2018 to provide competitive grants and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local and regional markets.

These investments are part of the USDA’s commitment to strengthen local and regional food systems through projects that recruit and train farmers, expand economic opportunities and increase access to healthy foods.

For more information, contact Singh-Knights at 304-293-7606 or dosingh-knights@mail.wvu.edu.



CONTACT: Dee Singh-Knights, WVU Extension Service
304.293.7606, Dosingh-knights@mail.wvu.edu

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