City Green, a nonprofit farming and gardening organization based in Clifton, NJ, 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. Funding from the FMPP 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.
“Coordination between the many different local food system partners here in New Jersey is so important in making sure that the Garden State’s farmers and growers are supported, and that our community members across the state have access to healthy and affordable farm-fresh food. This FMPP grant will support City Green not only in spreading the word about our Good Food Bucks Nutrition Incentive Program for people who use SNAP that makes local food more affordable, but also in supporting NJ farmers in their marketing efforts and expanding their customer base through becoming authorized to take SNAP and WIC benefits. We are so excited to be able to provide resources and support to Garden State farmers and communities.”
The FMPP award will support City Green in facilitating the launch of the state-wide Farmers for Food Access initiative. The coalition will connect New Jersey’s farmers, growers, and markets to underserved communities, and 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, and Healthy Food Priority Areas. This collaborative will bridge the gap between farmers, farmers’ markets, and nutrition assistance programs (NIPs) by plugging local farmers and markets directly into the Good Food Bucks program, thus increasing the ability of low-income recipients to afford healthy food grown by Garden State farmers.
City Green will also utilize funds from the FMPP award to expand the Good Food Bucks Nutrition Incentive program and provide marketing support to 50 Good Food Bucks partners across New Jersey. City Green will provide partners with materials that include social media promotion; newspaper, radio, and local access TV advertisements; public service announcements; 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 food access, with information about the program and how farmers' markets can change the way they eat.
Additionally, the FMPP award will support the growth of City Green’s Veggie Mobile program, a mobile market that provides farm-fresh, affordable, nutritious food. 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 FMPP marketing campaign will also serve to attract new Veggie Mobile customers from Passaic, Paterson, and surrounding communities.
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. For more information contact Jasmine Moreano, Director of Community Engagement and Advocacy, or visit www.citygreenonline.org.