Regranting Program Will Support Farmers Markets, Small Family Farms

NEW YORK, SEPT. 8, 2005 – Project for Public Spaces announced today that the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded them a $1,655,000 grant to support a three-year initiative to expand the impact that farmers markets have on their communities. This program is being undertaken in partnership with the Farmers’ Market Coalition component of the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association. Kellogg support will allow Project for Public Spaces to re-grant $1 Million directly to local farmers markets over the next two years. This grant builds on our existing $1 Million program for public markets already supported by The Ford Foundation.

Farmers markets are becoming increasingly popular in the United States with an estimated 3,700 selling products ranging from produce and meat to crafts and furniture in all 50 states. These farmers markets have almost all started at the community level, organized by grassroots organizations, agricultural organizations, faith-based organizations, downtown associations, chambers of commerce, and community food activists. These markets have few resources to grow and have great untapped potential – for farmers, customers, and communities.

“Project for Public Spaces has built our understanding of the complex relationships between a market and the community it serves,” said Steve Davies, Project for Public Spaces, Senior Vice President and Director of the Public Markets Program. “This Kellogg Foundation grant gives us a unique opportunity to provide financial support for farmers markets to bolster their role as central places in communities and to significantly contribute to their communities’ overall well-being.”

With this grant, Project for Public Spaces and its partners will provide farmers markets with the resources to innovate to address broader community impacts, while building their capacity to succeed as effectively run, financially sustainable organizations. The re-granting program, which will be formally announced this fall, will provide both financial and technical support for markets to:

  • Build partnerships to address broader goals and needs of communities, especially in the areas of health and community development;
  • Create better places and become even more important community focal points; and
  • Expand opportunities for farmers and low-income entrepreneurs, especially women, immigrant, refugee and minority producers.

In 2002, Project for Public Spaces conducted two studies of farmers markets funded by the Kellogg Foundation and the Ford Foundation. These studies found that both markets and the communities they serve can benefit from a collaborative approach which brings together the assets and opportunities of markets with the assets and opportunities of communities. These studies had a special focus on the impact of markets in low-income communities.

“The Farmer’s Market Coalition is pleased to be a partner in this initiative to support markets and their communities,” said Ed Maltby, Farmers’ Market Coalition coordinator. “We are eager to share the experiences and lessons learned from our many members throughout the country with the grantees. We are all working together to sustain farmers’ markets and their communities, while educating policymakers who have a critical role in defining the environment in which public and farmers’ markets can thrive.”

While spurring innovation at the local level, this initiative will also help develop more supportive state and federal policies for markets and work to create ongoing sources of funding for farmers markets.

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Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a non-profit organization founded in 1975 dedicated to creating and sustaining places that build community. We provide technical assistance, education, and research through programs in parks, plazas and central squares; buildings and civic architecture; transportation; and public markets. PPS has worked with communities in 48 states and in 20 countries around the world.

The North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) was established in 1986 to provide education and forward innovations in farm direct marketing for the purpose of promoting economic sustainability for family farmers. By 1997, NAFDMA recognized that the farmers market community had unique challenges compared with “on-farm” direct marketing venues and would benefit from a more focused agenda of its own issues. In 1998, in order to satisfy that need, NAFDMA began an aggressive strategy to establish a component of the association to focus entirely on issues related to farmers’ markets. The Farmers’ Market Coalition (FMC) was created in 2002 and elected its first governing council in February 2005.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.” Its programming activities center around the common vision of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive, and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.

To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas. These include: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

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