REAP Food Group Receives USDA Grant for Farm Fresh Atlas Project
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced $26.8 million in Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program grant recipients on September 28, 2016. The grants create economic opportunities for producers, increase access to fresh, healthy food for consumers, and connect rural and urban communities across the country.
“There’s so much consumer interest in buying local, and these grant programs help build that connection,” says AMS Administrator Elanor Starmer. “Whether it’s through farmers markets, food hubs, restaurants or grocery stores, when farms and ranches can sell their products locally, it helps bolster rural economies and improve access to healthy foods for our nation’s families.”
One of the 102 grant recipients is Madison-based REAP Food Group, a non-profit whose mission is to grow a healthful, just, and sustainable local food system. REAP produces the annual Southern Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas and owns the copyright for four additional independently produced Farm Fresh Atlases throughout Wisconsin. Cumulatively, the five annual publications showcase over 300 sustainable farms and 200 farmers markets, with the number of listings increasing every year. Varying levels of technology among the regions has led to under‐utilization of the Farm Fresh Atlases as an online tool to find local food.
“Wisconsin has a wealth of farmers who grow and sell top‐quality food directly to consumers,” says REAP’s Executive Director Miriam Grunes. “However, Wisconsin consumers have problems sourcing local foods due to the lack of a single,comprehensive, informative, and updated guide to products for sale near where they live and travel.”
This project will expand farmer‐to‐consumer marketing in Wisconsin by:
- Creating one statewide mobile‐ friendly, searchable database and website of sustainable farms, farmers’ markets, and businesses;
- Launching a statewide marketing campaign to promote the website and printed atlases; and
- Evaluating and improving the effectiveness of online and print atlases for farmers, farmers markets, and consumers.
Contact: Hannah Wente, Communications Director, REAP Food Group
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