Recognizing the importance of access to healthy food for low-income communities, Thai CDC was awarded $94,681 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to improve and enhance the East Hollywood Certified Farmers’ Market. The expanded farmers’ market will perform Covered California enrollments, accept Electronic Benefit Transfers (EBT), host dieticians, promote healthy diets, create jobs, financially sustain growers, and expand access to fruits and vegetables for low-income individuals.
“The East Hollywood Farmers’ Market is a community project of the Thai Community Development Center that improves access to healthy food and provides additional revenue generating options for local farmers,” states Thai CDC Market Manager, Billie Lay.
“The goals of FMPP grants are to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets by developing, improving, expanding, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance to, or assisting in the development, improvement, and expansion of, domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.” – United States Department of Agriculture (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/FMPP)
In 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded Thai CDC a $20,000 one-year planning grant to develop a plan for a farmers’ market in the low-income community of East Hollywood. After conducting focus groups with local growers and diverse residents of East Hollywood, Thai CDC received $67,623 in USDA funding to establish the farmers’ market in 2011. Thai CDC has been seeking expansion and improvement funding for the last two years. Over 180 farm-to-consumer marketing projects received funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Market Promotion Program, marking a $15 million investment to support direct marketing and to increase consumer access to healthy food. This year’s awards–182 in total, distributed across 45 states and the District of Columbia–showed a rise in urban projects and increased diversity in the types of projects funded.
“Local and regional food systems are one of the pillars of our efforts to revitalize rural economies,” said USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack. “Consumers are increasingly demanding more local and organic options. Investing in local and regional food systems supports the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers, especially smaller operations, while strengthening economies in communities across the country. Today’s announcements also improve access to fresh, healthy food for millions of Americans.”
Since Thai CDC’s EHCFM is located in the new federally designated Promise Zone, an article about the initial federal funding for projects in the area appeared in the LA Times which can be found by clicking here.