RFA Released: Mid-May, 2020
Application Opens: June 1st, 2020
Application Deadline: June 30th, 2020 at 5:00PM
Application Notifications: July, 2020


With this program, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) aims to strengthen collaboration between communities and local producers as planning efforts evolve quickly in response to the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants will contribute to implementation of community-driven local food market models to increase points of access to fresh fruits and vegetables and support specialty crop producers through market development activities.

Specialty crops are defined in the Farm Bill as: fruits and tree nuts; vegetables; culinary herbs, spices, and medicinal plants; nursery, floriculture, horticulture, and Christmas trees; honey; hops; maple syrup; and mushrooms.

Award Range and Match Requirement

Grants will be awarded within the range of $2,000 to $5,000. Projects primarily benefiting specialty crop producers are not required to demonstrate matching funds, but may do so to better explain commitment from partners and full project scope. If more than 50% of the project will benefit non-specialty crop producers, applicants must demonstrate 50% matching funds in the form of cash or in-kind services.

Eligible Applicants

Projects must demonstrate how investments will address community food access and expand direct-to-consumer markets help increase revenue, realize cost savings, or improve access to specialty crops and other local products.

•Partnering specialty crop producers, producer groups, or farmers markets

•Vermont municipalities, organizations, or community groups that will partner with and/or provide support to specialty crop producers, producer groups, or farmers markets

Eligible Projects

•Capital improvements or equipment purchases

•Technical support, project management, or design services

•Marketing or related education and outreach programs

•Innovative solutions to logistics and/or distribution

•Accounting or inventory tracking software or other technology

•Website improvements, sales platforms, or app development

Ineligible Projects

•Developing or expanding a community garden without a direct connection to community support for local agricultural producers

•Established festivals and entertainment series

•Vehicle purchases or land purchases

•Direct purchases of food

•Funding for purchases made prior to award notification

Matching Funds

Projects solely benefiting specialty crop producers do not need to demonstrate matching funds. If more than 50% of the project will benefit non-specialty crop producers, applicants must demonstrate 50% matching funds in the form of cash or in-kind services. For example, a $2,000 grant benefiting 2 vegetable and 3 meat producers would require the applicant to contribute at least $1,000 in cash and/or in-kind match. Eligible match sources include applicant’s own capital, outside investment capital, and/or grants from private or public sources. Match support can also come in the form of in-kind time and services related to the community food access activities and must be quantified at fair market value. Applicants can satisfy match requirements through a combination of cash and in-kind services. All matching funds must be directed to the same project for which the applicant is requesting grant funds.

Application Process

All applicants must register to create an account using VAAFM’s online grants management system, WebGrants and have a SAM.Gov account. Completed PDF application forms must be saved and uploaded along with all other required information by close of business (5:00PM) on June 30th, 2020. When an application has successfully been submitted, the applicant will be redirected to an “Application Submitted Confirmation” page with an Application ID number and receive a confirmation email. See the WebGrants Application Guide for more information on how to apply.

How to Apply

The FY 2020 application period opens June 1, 2020 and final submissions are due by June 30, 2020 before 5:00PM.

  1. Download and review the Local Food in Your Community Program 2020 Request for Applications (RFA).
  2. Refer to the WebGrants Application Guide for guidance on how to navigate . 
  3. Prepare and save your completed RFA and other required documents as PDFs.
  4. Upload all required documents, mark as complete and submit your application in WebGrants.


Program Contact

Alissa Matthews
(802) 505-1661

WebGrants Technical Assistance

Melissa Moon
(802) 828-3828

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                  802.522.7811
  • 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