Are you starting your application, but don’t know where to begin? Here is rundown of the program and some tips for new managers. The due date for this year’s application is May 11th, 2020, so time is running out!
What is FMPP &LFPP?
The Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Food Promotion Program are $27 million dollar grants given by the USDA for local food producers and businesses. Markets do not have to pay back these grants; the only stipulation is that your investment must match 25% of the total grant awarded and you must complete the project within the specified time limit. According to the USDA, only 16% of applications submitted are accepted and awarded grants… so what makes a winning application? Let’s set up the ground rules first.
FMPP vs LFPP
These grants are for two separate purposes, and yes, you can apply for both!
According to the USDA, there are more than 8,100 registered farmers markets in the United States–an estimate that is steadily growing each year (Farmers Market Directory, 2013). My student Anne Roybal, found that undercounted markets in Wisconsin, but the point is simple, no matter how many markets, we know that markets connect producers and consumers and serve communities in various ways. Farmers markets contribute to economic activity, farm incomes, small business, the local food agenda as well as national efforts to “strengthen local and regional food systems,” (Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food). Farmers and other vendors help keep the community informed and serve as a place to see and be seen, for neighbors to meet, for arts and crafts, for knowledge about food, health and other services in the community.
- FMPP promotes direct-to-consumer activities- things that impact your physical space and customers. There are two project types under FMPP:
- LFPP promotes intermediary supply chain activities – moving products from producer to markets but not activities that involve selling directly to the consumer
What else do I need to know before starting?
All applications have to be submitted electronically on grants.gov. You must submit separate proposals to FMPP & LFPP. You must also be a 501 (c)(3) organization or be sponsored by one in order to apply.
Grant Narrative: The narrative is your opportunity to explain how great your market is, why you deserve the grant and the impact it would have on your community. Narrative must be single-spaced, in 11-point font, and cannot be over 15 pages (total, excluding application
Achievability – Outcomes/Indications: All applicants are required to provide 5 data-backed indicators for the impact and achievability of their projects. If you do not have the information to provide any one of the 5, you must provide an explanation as to why this information isn’t relevant. The 5 indicators for 2020 are the same as previous years, and a pdf scan can be found here.
Now, with all that background out of the way, we can finally discuss:
Tips for grant writing:
- Be specific about what you want to do with the money – Have a concrete plan of what you need and why you need it.
- Use specific metrics on the impact of you market on the community. Ask yourself, what story do I expect to be able to tell if we achieve the goals of the grant?
- Plan ahead of time and have critical resources in place before submitting your application
- Give yourself time to collect evidence that you have the capability/intent for these projects. For example, if you are planning to use the FMPP for promotional purposes, what medium are you going to use to communicate your message and how much will that cost? Ask for quotes from vendors and use those for your calculations.
- Partnerships can be critical to your success – developing a project proposal in partnership with another organization in your community can give considerable weight to your application
- Get help! Have others review your grant proposal and give you feedback. Your proposal and purpose should be clear and convincing to everyone who reads it.
Are you a Farm 2 Facts member who is interested in applying for the FMPP/LFPP grant? Farm 2 Facts customers get personalized customer service to be able to interpret your metrics and write a data-backed narrative for your grant applications. If you are not a member, feel free to reach out to us for help as well at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are struggling to collect and calculate metrics for your application, Farm 2 Facts is a non-profit organization that has developed a toolkit with data collecting methodology and software exclusively for farmers markets. Feel free to contact us for a free demo or view a video walkthrough here.