JJC Receives Grant for Farmers Market Expansion

Joliet Junior College has been awarded a $92,059 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables in Joliet.
The grant will help expand JJC’s farmers market into a weekly event, purchase market supplies and equipment, secure promotional materials and advertising, conduct training and outreach for farmers and consumers, and obtain Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) capacity to serve the neighborhood’s low‐income residents.
JJC was one of 131 projects in 39 states to receive funding under the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP).
The grants, administered by the FMPP, are targeted to help increase and strengthen direct producer-to-consumer marketing channels. Through a competitive grants application process, FMPP funds marketing proposals not only for farmers markets but also for community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, roadside stands, agritourism and other direct marketing strategies.
Within FMPP, there is a minimum funding set-aside of 10 percent for Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) projects. EBT is the mechanism by which participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, receive monthly benefits. The FMPP projects facilitate the participation of SNAP recipients at farmers markets and CSAs.
The program boosts farm income and stimulates local economic development while increasing consumer choice and access to healthy food. FMPP was first authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill, based directly on a proposal by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition that was championed by then Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA). Since 2006, the program has invested over $32 million in new and expanded markets for local and regional food.

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