Publication: Michigan Food & Farming Systems
Mount Clemens, Mich. – The Central Macomb Chamber of Commerce of Mount Clemens was selected as one of this year’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant recipients. Twenty grants were awarded in seventeen states. The Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market was the only Michigan recipient.
Last month Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced twenty grants totaling $900,000 to establish, expand or promote local farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and similar agricultural ventures under the new Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP). While the goal of the FMPP is to increase domestic consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and other agricultural products while providing support to farmers, the program recognizes that farmers’ markets are beneficial for both farmers and consumers.
The Mount Clemens project, “Increasing Customers Through Effective Marketing Strategies for the Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market,” will focus on developing a more thorough understanding of customer shopping habits at a largely volunteer-run community farmers market. The goal is to increase the market’s visibility through various signage, advertising and communication strategies and to provide a more sustainable source of farm-based income for regional horticultural growers threatened by urban sprawl.
Project partners include the Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market, Central Macomb Chamber of Commerce, Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development and Macomb County MSU Extension.
Hannah Stevens, Macomb County MSU Extension Horticultural Agent, said, “I was astonished and delighted that our Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market was awarded the only Michigan FMPP grant.” Receiving this type of federal funding is an indication of the national importance of the success of the Macomb County Farmers’ Market and Michigan farmers’ markets in general.
Dru Montri, project manager of the developing Michigan Farmers’ Market Association was excited to hear the Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market was selected as a grant recipient. She said, “The Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market is providing a great example for the more than 150 farmers’ markets in the state. This project can be seen as a model for both established and emerging markets looking to increase their consumer base, farmer participation, and vendor sales.”
Macomb County is unique in that is it one of the few places in the country that has such a large and dense population (over 825,000 residents) located only minutes from such a large and diverse agricultural economy. Approximately 30% of land in Macomb County is occupied by active farmland. In 2002, there were over 500 working farms, roughly 68,000 acres of farmland and over $40 million worth of agricultural products sold.
The Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market has been providing locally grown, farm-fresh products for nearly 30 years. It runs Fridays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., May through November and offers a fine, fresh array of locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as bedding plants, perennials, shrubs and herbs. The market is located at the City’s Park and Ride Lot on North River Road between I-94 and Northbound Gratiot.
Plan to attend the market this weekend for the annual Pumpkin Party and Pig Roast on Saturday, October 28th. For more information about Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market events call (586) 493-7600 or visit www.downtownmountclemens.com.
For additional information about the Michigan Farmers’ Market Association and Michigan farmers’ markets, visit www.farmersmarkets.msu.edu.
Founded in 1998, Michigan Food and Farming Systems is a statewide membership organization (510c3) whose purpose is to promote diverse efforts that foster and sustain food and faming systems that improve economic, ecological, and social well-being. MIFFS has been effective at establishing successful partnerships among producers, markets and institutions that have created more profitable, environmentally friendly food systems in Michigan. To learn more, visit www.miffs.org, call (517) 432-0712, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.