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Lt. Gov. Simon announces winners of USDA grant 


October 19, 2011
By Amber Ruch

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - Lt. Governor Sheila Simon announced Wednesday that four grants from the United States Department of Agriculture's Farmers Market Promotion Program have been awarded to organizations in the state.

Simon promoted the availability of the funding and wrote a letter of support on behalf of the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees, helping secure $81,058 to establish a Farmers Market Association. The funding will help provide professional development, resources and support for farmers, markets and communities.

Another Southern Illinois organization, Food Works of Carbondale, was awarded $89,648 for a training and mentoring program for 60 new farmers and ranchers in Southern Illinois so they can set up farmers markets, roadside stands and other direct-marketing venues. Food Works is scheduled to present its plans for the grant at Wednesday's GRAC meeting.

“This funding will help local food producers grow their operations and provide greater access to local foods,” said Simon. “Expanding local foods in Illinois is good for the health of our citizens and our economy.”

According to the office of Lt. Gov. Simon, the FMPP provides grants to projects that help improve and expand farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agri-tourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. Priority was given to projects that expanded healthy food choices in food deserts.

Simon chairs the GRAC, which is working to eliminate barriers to local food production in Illinois. The Lt. Governor will host GRAC’s quarterly meeting Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at John A. Logan College in Carterville.

Other winners include:

  • Growing Home Inc of Chicago - Received $79,300 to establish a new farm stand for the sale of vegetables from its urban farm, buy refrigeration equipment and conduct educational programs
  • Faith in Place of Chicago - got $39,270 to help grow its 15 Chicago-area winter farmers markets and support the development of a congregational-supported Community Supported Agriculture program in Champaign