$90,000 Now Available for Farming Sustainability and Food Safety Projects

11 December 2018
lettuce growing in greenhouse

$90,000 Now Available for Farming Sustainability and Food Safety Projects

$2-$5K Grant Awards Available

December 10, 2018 / Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets released two Request for Proposals (RFPs) today. VAAFM is pleased to announce the availability of up to $90,000 of funding from these two programs to assist eligible Vermont farmers and food businesses to make upgrades to their operations and improve the sustainability of their businesses.  The application period for both grant programs will be open from Monday, January 7th, 2019 until Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at 12:00pm (noon). Awards will range from $2,000 to $5,000.

“These important dollars are targeted at making food safer while making farming more affordable. There is a major federal change underway in the produce safety world and the Agency wants Vermont farmers to be equipped and prepared for that change. These grants will help our farmers,“ says Secretary Anson Tebbetts.

Vermont Produce Safety Improvement Grants

Approximately $60,000 in funding provided through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Castanea Foundation, LLC will be available in the third round of the Produce Safety Improvement Grant (PSIG).  Because of the federal funding source, this round will focus on safety improvements that include materials, supplies, and labor but cannot fund construction or construction supplies.  Applicants must grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and have average annual produce sales of greater than $26,999 over the past three years. Recipients of previous PSIG awards do not qualify for this round.

Eligible Use of Funds

  • Harvest, Wash, Pack and Storage: materials and supplies, storage monitoring/control devices
  • Health/Hygiene: handwashing stations, cleaning/sanitization tools, signage, compost/manure handling improvements
  • Training and Record-keeping: materials and systems


Due to the high demand for PSIG grant opportunities in the previous two rounds, funds will now be awarded through a competitive application process. The details of the VAAFM Produce Program and the RFP for this grant round are now available at agriculture.vermont.gov/ProduceSafetyGrants.

Questions related to the Produce Safety Improvement Grants or the FSMA Produce Safety rule should be directed to Kathryn Donovan at (802) 585-4571 or AGR.SpecialtyCrops@vermont.gov.

Local Food Market Development Grants

Approximately $30,000 in funding will be available to assist Vermont farmers, businesses, and value-chain facilitators for projects that address challenges and risks associated with scaling up to meet new market demands. To qualify for funding consideration, applicants must either be a Vermont producer in pursuit of institutional or direct retail market development, or a value-chain facilitator that will directly support Vermont producers’ access to institutional and wholesale market expansion.

Eligible Use of Funds

  • Infrastructure Development: on-farm capital improvements, equipment purchases
  • Technology: accounting, tracking, and/or sales software, website, or app development
  • Market Access and Development: innovative solutions to logistics and/or distribution


The details of the VAAFM Local Food Market Development grant and RFP are now available at agriculture.vermont.gov/LocalFoodMarketDevelopment.

Questions related to the Local Food Market Development grants should be directed to Alissa Matthews at (802) 505-1661 or Alissa.Matthews@vermont.gov.

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.2431
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory               802.522.3502
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                            802.828.2433
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Farmer Assistance                    802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431