The following recommendations prioritize fiber-rich foods in title 10 ‘Horticulture’ programs.
- Permanently lower match requirements for FMPP and LFPP to no more than 10% in the next farm bill.
- Authorize & appropriate at least $200 million per year for LAMP.
- Increase resources for no-cost grant application assistance for LAMP programs.
The Horticulture title1 (title 10) of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 authorizes Local Agricultural Marketing Programs (LAMP). Two programs under LAMP, Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP) promote local fruit and vegetable production and distribution.
The 2018 farm bill authorized $13.5 million of annual mandatory funding for each program. And according to the Congressional Research Service, the USDA has only approved 10-15% of eligible grant applications each year.2 In FY 2020, even with the addition of the emergency H. R. 133 Stimulus Funding which brought total available funding to $38.5 million each to LFPP and FMPP, only 20% of eligible LFPP applicants and 24% of eligible FMPP applicants were approved. 3, 4
If the USDA requested Congress to appropriate an additional $200 million to be split evenly between FMPP and LFPP, more eligible grants could be awarded. This can be an immediate and effective way of empowering local communities to get fresh fruits and vegetables to more Americans – especially those in underserved areas. This can help communities build resilience in the face of growing global supply chain uncertainty.
The USDA could go a step further to ensure a higher percentage of grant approvals by maintaining max award caps and permanently lowering match requirements for both LFPP and FMPP, and by providing no-cost application assistance for applicants whose projects would fulfill program priorities but who have less grant-writing and fundraising capacities than other applicants. Not only would these changes increase grant approvals generally, but they would also increase the approvals of projects that benefit underserved communities, which is a stated priority in both programs’ most recent Request for Applications.