On Monday, the City of Orlando announced they have been awarded a $250,000 grant from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Farmer’s Market Promotion Program to increase access to local and healthy food options in West Orlando.
The City of Orlando was one of only three projects in Florida to receive funding. The grant will fund three major new initiatives in addition to creating new jobs for neighborhood residents. The grant initiatives include creating 10-15 “farmlettes” in resident front yards, launching a Farmer’s Market at Orlando City Soccer Club’s new stadium in Parramore and teaching neighborhood residents about nutrition and healthy cooking in partnership with Hebni Nutrition.
“This grant will help support our continued efforts to transform our urban environment and make our City more liveable and sustainable,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Local food production through this program will not only further our sustainability goals, but also help us to expand food access in neighborhoods that need it most.”
Much of West Orlando is considered a food desert, meaning residents do not have access to healthy food options within a mile of their neighborhoods. The city says bringing a Farmer’s Market and locally sourced food to West Orlando will help provide families with nutritious options and educational opportunities that will help to improve their quality of life.
“I’m proud to bring this project to our neighborhoods in need,” said District 5 City Commissioner Regina Hill. “Bringing healthy food to District 5 residents has been a priority since I first entered office. Sourcing food in the neighborhood, for the neighborhood, will empower community residents and serve to increase food security for those who live in District 5.”
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service awarded a total of 50 Farmer’s Market Promotion Program grants totaling more than $13.4 million to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products. FMPP grants support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects such as farmers markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands and agritourism.