Local Food Market Development Grants

What’s New

Changes to the 2015 Local Food Market Development grants

This year Local Food Market Development grant funds, that were previously solicited through a separate request for proposals, will be made available through the Working Lands grant process. The goal for this farm to institution funding still remains improvement of Vermont producers’ access to institutional markets, increased quantity of local food available in Vermont institutions, and encouragement of local food market development opportunities with an institutional focus across the state.

If you are interested in this institutional market access focus or the broader Working Lands Enterprise Board grant investments in Vermont’s farm and forest economy - from individual enterprises to service providers to supply chain partnerships - please consider applying at: http://workinglands.vermont.gov/apply/rfp. Please note: all grants are currently closed for the 2015 granting cycle. 


2014 LFMD grant recipients!

  • Bella Farm, LLC, Monkton
    • Expansion of a washing and packing area to increase efficiency
  • Green Heron Farm, Richford
    • Purchase of a root crop washer, precision seeder, and stainless steel table
  • Green Mountain Organic Creamery, Hinesburg
    • Plans to expand their current cooler
  • Harvest Hill Farm, Hardwick
    • Purchase of a used cooler to expand storage space
  • Intervale Center, Burlington
    • Development of a student CSA program at UVM
  • Joe’s Brook Farm, St. Johnsbury
    • Purchase of a small scale brush washer, to replace hand washing and scrubbing
  • Radical Roots Farm, Rutland
    • Construction of a temperature and climate controlled storage cooler
  • The Tutorial Center, Bennington
    • Purchase of a delivery van to increase the capacity for larger volumes of farm-to-institution food sales
  • Vermont Fresh Network, Richmond
    • Coordination and development of a statewide matchmaker event

Grant Program Summary

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) offers matching grant funds to increase Vermont producers’ access to institutional markets and to increase the quantity of local food available in Vermont institutions.

Beginning in 2011, the Vermont state legislature has annually appropriated $40,000 to the VAAFM to support the Vermont Local Food Market Development Grant Program. This program encourages local food market development opportunities with an institutional focus across the state. Grants are distributed, through a competitive application review process.

Vermont institutions are defined as: colleges and universities, K-12 schools, hospitals, nursing homes, community meal sites, correctional facilities, grocery stores and retail food co-ops.

Funding Focus:
  1. Infrastructure Development: on-farm capital improvements, equipment purchases.
  2. Market Access and Development: coordination of matchmaking events, development and production of marketing materials, targeted outreach to secure institutional markets.

To qualify for funding consideration, applicants must either be a Vermont producer in pursuit of institutional market development, a community group, producer group, or a food hub that will directly support Vermont producers’ access to institutional market expansion. Farmer or producer applicants must demonstrate 25% of total project cost in matching funds while a food hub or community group must demonstrate 50% of total project cost in matching support.

Annual Funding Process:

Proposals are in the fall in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP). Grant awards range up to $7,500 ($5,000 in the 2011) with approximately 75% of these grant funds designated for direct distribution to Vermont agricultural producers and 25% designated for dissemination to community groups or food hubs working with the Vermont agricultural community.

Match requirements:

A farmer or producer must demonstrate 25% of total project cost in match while a food hub or community group must demonstrate 50% of total project cost in match.

Eligible match sources can include: applicant’s own capital, outside investment capital, and grants from private or public sources. Match support can come in the form of in-kind time and services related to the institutional market development activities. All matching funds must be directed to the same project for which the applicant is requesting grant funds.

Abbey Willard
Local Foods Administrator
802-828-3829 or abbey.willard@vermont.gov

Local Food Market Development Grant Request for Proposals, 2013

Program Summary 2012 - 2014