On September 29, 2014 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of over $52 million in support of the growing organic industry and local and regional food systems through five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs.
The Maryland Farmers Market Association (MDFMA) was awarded $100,000 through the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to foster a robust network of farmers markets in Maryland, expand direct-to-consumer markets, and engage new customer bases.
MDFMA was founded in 2013 with the overall goal of creating robust farmers market communities throughout Maryland. Funds awarded to the MDFMA through the FMPP grant will be used to develop a suite of distinct but complementary programs, strategically selected to meet the needs three primary constituent groups: farmers market managers, local producers, and consumers, particularly those of low-incomes and/or marginalized populations.
To that end, the MDFMA will continue to expand Maryland Market Money, a statewide program for incentivizing purchases with federal nutrition benefits at farmers markets; Market to Mealtime, a farmers market-based healthy eating educational initiative; and explore a pilot prescription program, in which healthcare providers prescribe fruit and vegetables which can be traded in for cash-value coupons to redeem at farmers markets.