February 16, 2012

Sustainable Farms and Communities' Access to Healthy Foods Program Receives $5000 Grant

Grant funds will support local foods for families and individuals in Columbia, Mo. area

Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler today awarded the Columbia, Mo.-based Sustainable Farms and Communities organization a $5000 grant. The group will use funds from Missouri's Local Foods Grant Program to support their ongoing efforts to promote locally grown produce and opportunities for Columbia residents to enjoy those fruits and vegetables.

"Through grant programs like this one, we are able to connect the people and organizations working to make a difference in their communities with the needed resources," said Dr. Hagler.

The group will use grant funds to print promotional brochures and flyers, provide incentives for purchasing produce and offer cooking classes to participants in the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who are also enrolled in the Access to Healthy Foods Program. The approximately 200 households the group plans to serve through this project are in areas considered "food deserts" because of their distance from grocery stores, farmers' markets and other outlets for fresh produce, meats and dairy products.

The Sustainable Farms and Communities group is partnering with the Boone County Health Department, University of Missouri-School of Public Health and Columbia Farmers' Market in this effort.

This is the first year for the Local Foods Grants, which are supported by Missouri's Agriculture Protection Fund. The grant funds may be used for the creation of a farmers' market, the expansion of an urban or community garden, to promote local food efforts and/or youth initiatives that combat hunger, poor nutrition and obesity in collaboration with community gardens or farmers' markets.

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at http://www.mda.mo.gov.