City Green, a nonprofit farming and gardening organization based in Clifton, was recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to support programs that will increase food equity and access across New Jersey.
The grant funds will support the marketing of City Green’s state-wide Good Food Bucks program, the expansion of City Green’s Veggie Mobile operations, and the launch of a state-wide Farmers for Food Access initiative. This funding comes at a critical time as more communities across New Jersey face the long-term impacts of economic disruptions and nutritional insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are so excited to be able to provide resources and support to Garden State farmers and communities. This USDA FMPP grant gives City Green the funding needed to support the marketing needs of NJ farmers. It is our hope that farmers see their customer base grow through this project” said Lisa Martin, City Green’s Director of Food Access.
The USDA FMPP award will support the establishment of the state-wide Farmers for Food Access initiative, a grower-centered coalition that aims to connect New Jersey’s farmers, growers, and farmer’s markets to underserved communities. The initiative will provide resources, technical assistance, and marketing support to farmers and markets to better serve people who use nutrition assistance benefits like SNAP and WIC in Healthy Food Priority Areas. With this funding, City Green will bridge the gap between farmers, farmers’ markets, and nutrition assistance programs. It will increase the ability of low-income families to afford healthy, farm-fresh food grown by Garden State farmers.
New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam said, “We are especially excited about the Farmers for Food Access Initiative which will distribute printed flyers, signs, and banners directly to farmers who accept SNAP and Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) Vouchers. Farmers have expressed the need for more marketing, education, and outreach to shoppers that use SNAP and FMNP. City Green’s Farmers for Food Access Initiative will supply our state’s farmers with the infrastructure and resources to connect more low-income households with our famous Jersey-Fresh fruits and vegetables!”
Additionally, the USDA FMPP award will support the growth of City Green’s Veggie Mobile program, a mobile market that provides farm-fresh affordable, nutritious food to neighborhoods with limited access. Funding from this award will expand the Veggie Mobile’s footprint through the leasing of a second Veggie Mobile truck that will deliver over 60 hours of mobile market farm stands per week for 23 weeks during the season in the cities of Passaic, Paterson, and other surrounding communities. The USDA FMPP marketing campaign will also serve to attract new Veggie Mobile customers from Passaic, Paterson, and surrounding communities.
City Green will also expand the capacity of the Good Food Bucks Nutrition Incentive Program and its partners. The Good Food Bucks Program, coordinated by City Green, currently operates in 23 municipalities and provides SNAP customers with double the purchasing power for fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets, farm stands, CSA’s, and grocery stores. This award will allow City Green to conduct a wide-ranging marketing and advertising campaign for 40 Good Food Bucks partners across New Jersey. Funds will be used to purchase newspaper, radio, social media, and local access TV advertisements; direct mail advertisements, and multilingual printed materials. This comprehensive marketing support will enable farmers and farmers’ markets to expand their outreach to their community members, specifically those with low nutrition security, with information about the program and how farmers' markets can provide families and individuals with affordable options to purchase local and healthy produce.
City Green is a 501(c)3 urban farming and gardening organization, based in Clifton, New Jersey working to revitalize urban areas through agriculture and educational programming. It offers practical, technical, and financial resources in support of environmental stewardship, equitable access to healthy food, and ecologically sustainable communities.