DIY





Federal Grant Money Brings North Texas Farmers and Local Consumers Together


| 5/10/2018 8:33:00 AM



 Farm To Table Guests

Photo by Kathryn Hager, Little h Creative

The Downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market is bustling with hundreds of customers and dozens of farm stand vendors three days a week, 80 supportive Texomans dined on locally produced and expertly prepared foods at the Long Table dinner in downtown Wichita Falls on a beautiful spring evening, and area restaurants are stocked with locally grown and raised foods. Farmers markets in Vernon and Graham just kicked off their Spring and Summer seasons, stocked with goods and produce from farmers in Young, Archer, Wilbarger, Wichita, and surrounding north Texas counties.

All of these local north Texas food happenings are the direct product of a US Department of Agricultural Marketing Service grant applied for, and issued thru Vernon College, by grant writer Monica Wilkinson, a local girl who returned to the Red River Valley after college and did what farmers love most: She made it rain. At least financially, if not literally, by bringing out more local consumers to buy their food directly off the farms at markets, in restaurants and at special events.

The $500,000 awarded to The Red River Valley Local Food Expansion Project was one of the highest amounts issued by the USDA grant program, was funded by Congress in 2016 to promote the farm to fork movement in the US, and has done for north Texas exactly what the program was designed to do: “The purpose of the Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets by developing, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance to, or assisting in the development, improvement, and expansion of, domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.” (https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/fmpp)



Monica Wilkinson at the Long Table dinner in Wichita Falls. 



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