On Friday, Dec. 6, the San Luis Valley (SLV) received an early Christmas present from Washington D.C. as Senator Michael Bennet, announced that the SLV Local Foods Coalition and Bytable will receive $245,963 in funding to further grow its Local Foods Local Places project. Locally, many know the name and face of this successful program as Liza Marron, the Coalition’s Executive Director. Congratulations to you and your team, Liza!
“We are thrilled to hear we have received this support from USDA. This funding will be a true force-multiplier for rural food access in the San Luis Valley by helping strengthen three existing farmers markets in Alamosa, Monte Vista and South Fork, two of which have previously been run by volunteers. This funding will also help us establish a new farm stand at the Rio Grande Farm Park,” said Marron.
The #goodnews funding was secured through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. Many residents living in Saguache Today benefit from this program which will be ever-more important as other food supplemental programs like SNAP – sit on the chopping block in budgetary committees back east.
“Colorado is fortunate to have many organizations focused on increasing access to local and regional food systems, including San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition and Bytable,” said Sen. Bennet who is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry,
“I strongly supported increasing funding in the 2018 Farm Bill for these innovative efforts, and I’m pleased to see these grants go to work here in Colorado.”
The SLV Local Foods Coalition will receive $245,963 in funding to further grow its Local Foods Local Places project, including expanding its farmers market network and education efforts to raise consumer awareness. Bytable, based in Colorado Springs, will receive $437,951 in funding to promote an understanding of regional and local food systems and provide consumers with easy and affordable access to sustainably- and regeneratively-produced food products.
The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program grants are a part of a $50 million USDA annual investment through the 2018 Farm Bill to develop and expand local and regional food markets, enterprises, and producer-to-consumer marketing.
“The Bytable team and our partners are incredibly excited and humbled to be awarded a Local Food Promotion Program grant for over $430,000 from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to be used over the next three years. Our mission to create a regionally-focused food system that supports growth for sustainable and regenerative food producers, particularly in meat, will be greatly accelerated by this funding,” said Jacy Rittmer, Chief Executive Officer of Bytable.