Three Delaware groups are getting money from the USDA as part of an effort to support farmers markets and local, sustainable agriculture around the country.
The Historic Lewes Farmers Market, University of Delaware and Delaware State University will get a share of more than $34 million in grant money from the USDA. The federal grants, announced last week, are aimed at strengthening local food systems, especially in rural areas.
The money for Delaware programs comes from the Agricultural Marketing Service. DSU is receiving the most, $100,000 to offer farm management and business training in rural parts of the state. It’s meant to help farmers grow their brands, find new opportunities in areas like crop rotation, and get national certifications to increase their revenues.
The Lewes Farmers Market, a producer-only market that runs Saturday mornings at Lewes Historical Society and Shields Elementary School, is getting $99,000 to expand through more of the year and into underserved areas. The grant will also help the market accept more SNAP benefits, according to the USDA.
The University of Delaware was awarded $87,000 through a federal-state partnership to work on marketing locally grown watermelon in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It would be labeled as grown on a Delaware Preserved Farm, which the USDA says could boost prices as well as participation of farmers in preservation programs.
Other area grant recipients include the Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, which is getting $100,000 to promote local farming in Maryland and on the Delmarva Peninsula. Several groups in Philadelphia are also getting money to promote urban farming and access to sustainably grown food.