By Akshita Verma
Ingham County Chronicle
A total of $190,038 in federal land grants will help the Michigan Farmers Market Association and Allen Neighborhood Group expand both size of the market and access to local farmers, according to U.S. Sen Debbie Stabenow’s office.
The grants, announced Sept. 30, come from the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law by President Obama.
“The reactions have been pretty positive, and I think it is a positive thing,” said Lizy Ferguson, market manager of Allen Street Farmers Market.
Michigan Farmers Market Association will receive $99,660 and Allen Neighborhood Group will receive $90,378.
“The money will go toward promoting the indoor market,” said Ferguson.
The outdoor farmers market is open only until Oct. 22, but the indoor market will run year round, according to Ferguson.
“The money will also go toward the Hunter Park Gardenhouse, community share agriculture, and the exchange program,” said Ferguson.
The Hunter Park Gardenhouse is a community garden, and community share agriculture is a subscription program for fresh produce, according to Ferguson and the Allen Neighborhood website.
The exchange program, said Ferguson, helps local growers sell to local businesses via a website.
An example of a local business that uses the exchange program is The Soup Spoon Cafe, a local restaurant that uses only produce from local farmers.
A vendor from Glory Bee Sweet Treats agrees with Ferguson that the federal land grants are a positive thing.
Glory Bee Sweet Treats, a store based out of Mason that offers fudge, specialty breads, cupcakes, and other sweets. The vendor from it said she loved the Allen Street Farmers Market and her products were doing well at the market. She was in favor of the market expanding.
According to Stabenow, the farmers market expanding in Michigan is a good thing.
“When we grow things here and make things here, we create jobs here in Michigan,” said Stabenow in her press release.