WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today (Sept. 19), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $265,284 to the Farmers Market Management Network in Columbus. These funds will help expand farmers markets in Central Ohio and access to locally grown produce in Franklin, Union, Delaware, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, Fairfield, and Fayette Counties. More specifically, the investment will be used to create a regional market collaborative for future growth, establish baseline data for Central Ohio markets, and provide professional certifications of market managers and marketing efforts.
“We should support Ohio farmers from around the state, helping them grow their bottom lines and sell more Ohio-grown products here at home,” said Brown. “Not only does this increase access to healthy, local fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods, it also helps family farmers develop new markets and expand business opportunities.”
These funds are a part of the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), which works to increase access and consumption of locally produced products by developing, improving and expanding outreach, training and technical assistance to domestic farmers markets and other community-supported agriculture programs. Brown helped secure these funds as part of the 2014 Farm Bill and is fighting to include similar investments in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Brown was able to secure his Local Food and Regional Market Supply (FARMS) Act in the Senate Farm Bill, which passed the Senate with 86 votes in June. His bill, the FARMS Act would provide permanent funding to help farmers sell their products directly to consumers, create rural jobs, and invest in local and regional food economies. Brown is working to include his FARMS Act as a conferee on the Farm Bill Conference Committee.