Recognizing the importance of access to healthy food for low-income communities, Thai CDC was awarded $218,148 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to improve and enhance the existing East Hollywood Certified Farmers’ Market. The award will help fund another farmers’ market day for the next three years. The additional farmers’ market day will be Saturday on top of its Thursday market which has been operating for almost five years now. The second market will also perform Covered California enrollments, accept Electronic Benefit Transfers (EBT), provide Market Matches to double the purchasing power of public benefits recipients and increase their access to fresh produce, host health and community service providers, promote healthy diets, create jobs, financially sustain growers, and expand access to fruits and vegetables for low-income individuals.
“The East Hollywood Certified Farmers’ Market is a food security and food justice project of the Thai Community Development Center that improves access to healthy food and provides additional revenue generating options for local farmers. And now, there will be synergy between the two weekly outdoor farmers’ markets and the daily indoor public market, the Thai Town Marketplace coming next summer at the same site on the Hollywood/Western Metro Redline stop at the western gateway of Thai Town. There will also be a purchase agreement between the food vendors in the marketplace and the farmers promoting fresh ingredients in the food sold while supporting the farmers at the same time. We are bringing real positive change to the community through these projects while improving the quality of life and standard of living for the most economically disadvantaged,” states Thai CDC Executive Director Chanchanit Martorell.
“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)
“Since this Administration launched the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative in 2009 to coordinate U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) efforts to support local and regional food systems, there has been a dramatic increase in consumer demand for buying local,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Over the years, we’ve seen how these new market opportunities are helping to drive job growth in agriculture, increase entrepreneurship in rural communities, and expand food access and choice. This latest round of grants will expand the capacity of farmers and businesses to serve this growing market, help revitalize local economies around the country, and support efforts around the country to provide fresh, healthy food to all Americans.”
In 2006, the 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 the diverse residents of East Hollywood, Thai CDC was awarded $67,623 by the USDA to establish the farmers’ market in 2011. Then in 2014, the USDA awarded Thai CDC a grant of $94,681 to expand the East Hollywood Certified Farmers’ Market. The USDA support of Thai CDC’s farmers’ market has now totaled $400,452 with this current award which translates into improved health and wealth outcomes for the community.