Local Food Market Development Grants


The Agriculture Development Division would like to share an update for potential applicants about fiscal year 2021 grant opportunities. Five grant programs which provide critical support to our educational institutions and agriculture and forestry businesses are funded via allocations in the State of Vermont’s annual budget. Because the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious disruptions in the State’s budgeting process, the Governor approved a “skinny” budget in June which only authorized spending for the first quarter of the State’s fiscal calendar (July through September). The Legislature returns on August 25 and a top priority will be to finalize a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, pending the Governor’s approval. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the budget and its impact on these programs, the Agency of Agriculture will be delaying the release of the Local Food Market Development grant application. Read more ... 

Program Overview

The purpose of this grant is to foster Vermont producers’ access to wholesale markets and to increase the quantity of local food available in Vermont institutions and other Vermont wholesale markets by addressing barriers in the supply chain. This program encourages local food wholesale market development opportunities with an institutional focus across the state from Vermont farmers, producer groups, and value-chain facilitators. Proposed projects must improve quality, efficiency, or food safety; address distribution challenges; or mitigate the financial risks associated with scaling up to meet new market demands. Proposals that address needs related to Covid-19 are eligible for this funding opportunity.

How to Apply

For a guide on how to submit applications through WebGrants, click here.

  1. Download the Local Food Market Development Grant Program 2020 Request for Applications (RFA)
  2. Sign up for a WebGrants account, VAAFM's online Grants Management System (GMS)
  3. Submit your application in WebGrants starting February 24th at noon. Application closes April 12th, 2020  


Proposals addressing market access in Vermont institutions, defined as colleges and universities, early childcare and pre-k-12 schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities, and wholesale market access, including grocery stores, independent retail, and food co-ops, will be considered. Grants will be distributed through a competitive application review process to agricultural producers, producer groups, and value-chain facilitators. To qualify for funding consideration, applicants must either be a Vermont producer or producer group in pursuit of institutional or in-state wholesale market development, or a value-chain facilitator that will directly support Vermont producers’ access to institutional or wholesale market expansion in Vermont.

Grants ranging from 2k – 5k will be targeted towards:
  • 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
Ineligible Applications
  • Applications that fail to demonstrate how wholesale market access will be improved.
  • Applications for vehicles or land.
  • Applicants out of compliance with any federal, state or local laws or regulations.
  • Applicants not engaged in commercial agriculture.
  • Applicants producing value-added products with less than 51% Vermont grown ingredients.
  • Applicants who failed to meet requirements for previous Agency grants and/or assistance programs, or from individuals or groups unable to perform or currently experiencing performance issues with previous Agency grant obligations.
  • Applications for already completed projects for which the applicant seeks reimbursement.

Grants are distributed, through a competitive application review process, to agricultural producers, producer groups, and value-chain facilitators that are addressing market access in Vermont institutions, defined as colleges and universities, early childcare and pre-k-12 schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities, and wholesale market access, including grocery stores, independent retail, and food co-ops. All applicants must demonstrate 25% of the total grant award in matching funds. Grant funds must be obligated, and project work must be completed, within one year from the time the grant agreement is finalized. 

Program History

Over the past 8 years the Vermont state legislature has annually appropriated funds to the VAAFM to support market opportunities with an institutional or other wholesale focus in Vermont.


Program Contact

Trevor Lowell
(802) 585-9186

WebGrants Technical Assistance

Diana Ferguson
(802) 622-4094

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  802.828.5050
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory                                  802.585.6073
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                           802.828.2433
  • Produce Program                  802.461.5128
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Grants                                  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