WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture announced the availability of $4.7 million in grants for food safety training, outreach and technical assistance projects.
The grants are aimed at small to mid-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small processors, small fresh fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers, food hubs, farmers' markets, and others who need help complying with regulations under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA). The grants will be offered through the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
This year, NIFA will fund three types of projects:
- Pilot programs that support development and implementation of new and potentially high-risk, high-impact food safety education and outreach initiatives in local communities;
- Community outreach projects that focus on growth and expansion of existing food safety outreach and education programs; and
- Multi-state education and training initiatives that support multi-county, statewide or multi-state food safety education outreach programs where there are common food safety concerns in states that are not within the same regions.
“As growing demand for local food creates new economic opportunities for small farms, beginning farmers, and others, we are committed to ensuring that all types of farmers and businesses have the tools they need to be successful,” said Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By supporting projects that offer tailored training, education, and technical assistance for producers and processors of local food, these grants will benefit producers, the entire food supply chain, and consumers.”
USDA is holding a webinar for potential applicants on April 19 from 2:30 to 3:30 EST. Applications are due June 2 and are available at the NIFA website.