WASHINGTON, May 16, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites individuals to share their expertise in reviewing project proposals for the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program grants. Reviewers may be farmers, market managers, and others with a knowledge of local food and farmers markets. Those who are chosen must commit to spending 50-60 hours during July to project reviews. A stipend of $750 will be paid upon completion.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is a competitive grant process designed to expand farmer-to-consumer market opportunities in the United States.  The grants, which are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), help provide and expand direct market opportunities for farmers throughout the country.  Approximately $10 million is available for marketing operations such as farmers markets, community supported agriculture, roadside stands and agritourism.

“Serving as a grant reviewer for the Farmers Market Promotion Program is an important way to support American farmers, agricultural organizations and businesses that provide nutritious and affordable foods to their local communities,” said Arthur Neal, deputy administrator for the AMS Transportation and Marketing division, which oversees the Farmers Market Promotion Program for USDA.

Prospective reviewers should have a general knowledge of how locally-based, direct farm-to-consumer marketing programs operate.  They must also be able to commit approximately 50 to 60 hours during the month of July to the process.  Reviewers will evaluate, score and comment on approximately 25 proposals, and participate in team discussions for group consensus on final project scores and rankings.  There is no travel involved, so interested individuals may participate from anywhere in the country.

The USDA is particularly interested in reviewers with diverse perspectives and critical judgment who are:

  • Farmers with direct marketing experience
  • Members of agricultural cooperatives, producer networks or associations
  • Employees from non-profits, public benefit and economic development corporations
  • Regional farmers market authorities or managers
  • Federal, state, local or tribal government employees
  • Individuals with experience in implementing electronic benefits transfer projects

Selected reviewers must register with the Central Contractor Registry (www.ccr.gov). Upon completion of the process, reviewers will receive a $750 stipend for their time and effort.  Participating federal employees are not eligible for a stipend.  Individuals and/or their organizations (including subcontractors) that prepare or submit applications for the 2012 Farmers Market Promotion Program grant cycle are not eligible to be peer reviewers.

For additional information or to download an application, visit www.ams.usda.gov/FMPP.  If you have questions, please e-mail[email protected] or call (202) 720-0933.  Individuals selected as reviewers will be contacted beginning June 12, 2012 and provided with complete instructions.

The Farmers Market Promotion Program is part of USDA’s commitment to support local and regional food systems.  These investments, including the online food hub portal and the National Farmers Market Directory, are highlighted in USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass. The KYF Compass is a digital guide to USDA resources related to local and regional food systems. The Compass consists of an interactive U.S. map showing local and regional food projects and an accompanying narrative documenting the results of this work through case studies, photos and video content.

A large selection of USDA-supported programs and projects is also visible on the KYF Map, which can be displayed by theme, program, or recipient type. Both the KYF Compass and map will be regularly updated with new data and case studies.