Market Customers

Click here

<script src="/" type="text/javascript">

PDF Print E-mail



2013 Fresh Connect Farmers Market Program Grants - Award Annoucement, May 2013

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $260,000 in funding for the third year of the "FreshConnect" farmers' market program, which brings fresh food from New York farms to underserved communities throughout the state. Building on the experience gained in the first two years of the FreshConnect program, new components have been added to enhance and increase the involvement of youth participation in the food system and the mechanisms to deliver healthy food products to those in need. This year, the FreshConnect program will help increase locally-grown food products throughout the state through projects such as youth markets, delivery of products to low-income housing facilities and new initiatives at traditional farmers' markets.

"Our FreshConnect Farmers' Markets are getting better and better every year," said Governor Cuomo. "Not only are we helping New York farmers bring their products to market, but we are bringing fresh food from these farmers to traditionally underserved communities. This initiative is great for New York agriculture and a tremendous boost to the public health of our citizens."

Launched by the Governor in 2011, the FreshConnect program is designed to foster new farmers' markets and support existing markets that provide fresh produce to high-need areas throughout the state. In some areas, the program serves rural or urban populations that do not have sufficient access to grocery stores; in others, it provides low-income, high-unemployment neighborhoods with healthy, New York-grown produce, as well as local jobs.

Funding was awarded by way of a competitive process. In total, 23 projects totaling $260,000 received funding under this request for proposals.
·    Traditional FreshConnect Farmers' Markets: 14 projects totaling $130,000. Funding will support multiple grant projects to improve access of underserved communities to New York farm products at farmers' markets. New and existing farmers' markets, municipalities and not-for-profits applied for up to $10,000 each. The best ideas on how to improve access to farmers' market produce were awarded funding.
·    Youth Markets: Five projects totaling $80,000. Funding will support multiple youth-staffed market programs, one of the most effective models for reaching nutritionally underserved neighborhoods. Youth markets will also help train youth to operate all aspects of a farmers' market in the neighborhood using food purchased from local farmers. Youth will be active participants in all aspects of planning and running the market. Funding was awarded to organizations that demonstrated sustainability and growth of youth market programs.
·    Food Box: Four projects totaling $50,000. This program supports pilot projects that enable underserved, low-income communities to purchase fresh, locally-sourced fruits and vegetables in pre-packed boxes. Food Box customers will have the flexibility to pay for their boxes weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly depending on the pick-up schedule of each project. Food Box customers will have the option to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to pay for their boxes. State funding will cover administrative costs associated with a qualified organization procuring, transporting and distributing the food to low-income New Yorkers.

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, "We couldn't be more pleased that Governor Cuomo is continuing our highly-successful FreshConnect Farmers' Markets program for a third straight year. It's an initiative that just keeps getting better and better for our hard working farmers and the New Yorkers who have come to enjoy their fresh products. I look forward to another great year at these first-class marketplaces."

Kristin M. Proud, Acting Commissioner of the Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance, which oversees SNAP in New York State, said, "Governor Cuomo's continued focus on bringing more fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables from New York's farmers to low-income households through the FreshConnect program promotes local agriculture while improving nutrition among some of our most vulnerable residents. These expanded efforts further the Governor's goal of preventing hunger by improving access for New Yorkers to fresh, healthy, locally-grown food choices when shopping for their families."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "Governor Cuomo's FreshConnect Farmers' Market program has been hugely successful in providing healthy fresh food to communities across our state, and critical to our efforts to grow New York's agriculture industry. Now in its third year, the FreshConnect program will further expand its reach, creating jobs and strengthening the economy."

State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., said, "Ensuring all New Yorkers have access to nutritious foods is an essential component of the state's health agenda. Governor Cuomo's leadership and support for the FreshConnect program makes it possible for people across the state to enjoy the benefits of locally grown produce as part of a healthy diet."

State Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera said, "The success of the FreshConnect Farmers' Markets program is clear – from an economic perspective, from a public health perspective, and from a job training perspective. Governor Cuomo's new addition, the Youth Markets program, will train our youth early on to open and operate a market, skills applicable to any industry and career path."

Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau, said, "The funding for the various food programs announced today will provide additional opportunities to connect our state's farms with consumers in both rural and underserved urban communities. Not only will this increase market opportunities for farmers, but it will also ensure the people of New York have greater access to healthy, local food for their dinner tables. We appreciate the efforts of Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Aubertine on behalf of our farm families."

Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Federation of New York, said, "With the opening of the farmers market season this Spring, we once again thank Governor Cuomo for his support of farmers markets through the FreshConnect program. This program assists farmers markets throughout the state to reach low income community members, making fresh, nutritious and locally grown foods available to all community members."

A list of awardees is below:

Farmers' Markets:

Bellevue Preservation, Inc. (Capital Region) - $4,700
Northeast Community Council, Inc. (Mid-Hudson) - $10,000
Ulster County CCE (Mid-Hudson) - $10,000
Oneida County Department of Public Works (Mohawk Valley) - $10,000
Garden Share, Inc. (North Country) - $9,827
Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce (North Country) - $9,961
Lewis County General Hospital Farmers' Market (North Country) - $10,000
Woodhall Community DMA/Graham BID (NYC) - $8,800
United Community Centers, Inc. (NYC) - $9,950
EcoStation: NY/Bushwick Farmers' Market (NYC) - $10,000
Bushwick Farmers' Market (NYC) - $10,000
Chemung County CCE (Southern Tier) - $6,762
Ithaca Farmers' Market (Southern Tier) - $10,000
Tioga County CCE (Southern Tier) - $10,000

Total: $130,000

Youth Markets
Foodlink, Inc. (Finger Lakes) $20,000
Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group, Inc. (Long Island) $15,000
Friends of Van Cortland Park (New York City) $10,000
Massachusetts Avenue Project (Western New York) $15,000
Grow NYC (New York City) $20,000

Total: $80,000

Food Box Pilot Project
Public Health Solutions (New York City) $5,855
Grow NYC (New York City) $25,000
Garden Share (North Country) $5,145
United Way of Broome County (Southern Tier) $14,000

Total $50,000


2014 USDA Farm To School Grants - Request For Applications

Across the country, an increasing number of schools and districts have begun to source more foods locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students that emphasize food, farming, and nutrition. This nationwide movement to enrich children’s bodies and minds while supporting local economies is often referred to as “farm to school.” The term encompasses efforts that bring local or regionally produced foods into school cafeterias; hands-on learning activities such as school gardening, farm visits, and culinary classes; and the integration of food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) established a Federal Farm to School Program in order to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is charged with implementing the Farm to School program.

Amount Available
In this funding cycle, FNS anticipates awarding up to $5 million in grant funding to support efforts that improve access to local foods in eligible schools.

Three Types of Grants
Grant funds will be made available on a competitive basis, subject to availability of federal funds. In this funding round, USDA will solicit applications for three types of grants:

1. Planning grants are for schools or school districts just getting started on farm to school activities and are intended to help these entities organize and structure their efforts for maximum impact by embedding known best practices into early design considerations.

Who can apply:

· K-12 School Food Authorities, nonprofit private schools, charter schools, Indian tribal schools, and others that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs.

2. Implementation grants are intended to help schools or school districts scale or further develop existing farm to school initiatives.

Who can apply:

· K-12 School Food Authorities, nonprofit private schools, charter schools, Indian tribal schools, and others that participate in the National School Lunch or Breakfast Programs,

3. Support Service grants are intended for eligible entities working with schools or school districts to further develop and provide broad reaching support services to farm to school initiatives.

Who can apply: 
· State and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, Indian tribal organizations, and agricultural producers or groups of agricultural producers.


Funding Amounts and Expected Distribution of Awards
Planning grants are expected to range from $20,000 - $45,000 and represent approximately 25 percent of the total awards. Implementation and Support Service grants are expected to range from $65,000 - $100,000 and represent approximately 75 percent of the total awards.

A Match is Required, Evaluation Too
For all three types of grants, the applicant must provide at least 25 percent of the total project cost as the federal share of costs for this grant cannot exceed 75 percent of the total cost of the project, as required by the HHFKA. Authorizing language also states that as a condition of receiving a farm to school grant, each grant recipient shall cooperate in an evaluation of the program carried out using grant funds.

Pick One, Then Think about Partnering
School applicants must choose between submitting a Planning grant or an Implementation grant. Only one application per eligible school is permitted. As appropriate, USDA encourages school districts to work together and submit multi-school applications where a USDA investment in, for example, one school district working with several districts, might benefit a wider geographic area than funding to any one district alone.

Schools are encouraged to partner with eligible entities as part of a support service grant proposal.

How to Access the Request for Applications (RFA)
The RFA will be posted on and available at

Important Dates:

  • February 6, 2013: Request for Applications Released
  • April 24, 2013 (Midnight EST): Proposals Due
  • October 2013: Awards Announced and Funds Available (Pending the Availability of Federal Funds)


Webinars to Learn More
Three webinars will be offered so that grant applicants can learn more about this grant opportunity. To receive additional information about webinars, please be sure to sign up for the Farm to School E-Letter.  

  • March 5, 2013, 1:00 p.m. EST – Planning Grants
  • March 6, 2013, 1:00 p.m. EST – Implementation Grants
  • March 7, 2013, 1:00 p.m. EST – Support Service Grants


Don’t Wait for a Webinar to Get Your Question Answered
You can get your question answered at any point in the process by contacting:


Additional Information
For updates on the USDA Farm to School Program, please visit the Farm to School website
 or subscribe to the Farm to School E-Letter.



See Friends of the Market Toolkit for information on how to create a Friends of the Market organization that can help you fundraise.