Compeer Financial’s Fund for Rural America, the Farm Credit cooperative’s giving program, has awarded Farmers Market Grants, totaling $89,503. This is the fifth year Compeer Financial has offered these grants.
The grants are supporting 77 farmers market organizations, with funding up to $1,000 for marketing, technology or educational efforts. 39 farmer vendors received grants of up to $500. Since the grant debuted in 2019, these grants have directly impacted 10,173 people and touched the lives of 9 million farmers market visitors.
Karen Schieler, senior corporate giving specialist at Compeer Financial, says they are seeing trends from grant recipients this year.
“Marketing continues to be the most needed resource for both vendors and markets,” said Schieler. “Vendors are doing more to brand their businesses and build connections with farmers. Market organizations are continually relying on different media channels to reach a broader population of the community.”
Farmers markets are also investing in technology to expand payment options with SNAP benefits through EBT and credit card payments. This year’s markets report that farmer vendors make up 45% of their total vendors. Having a balance of farmers and other vendors helps attract more customers to the market. 2023 farmer grant recipients say that farmers market sales account for more than 50% of their annual sales on average.
“Farmers markets bring fresh, healthy foods directly to communities in an accessible way,” said Schieler. “Many markets have had to make changes through technology, marketing and education in recent years. Through these grants, we hope to recognize the huge asset that farmers markets are to our communities.”
The 24 farmers markets in Wisconsin in Compeer Financial’s territory receiving grants include:
Beaver Dam Farmers Market
Boscobel Farmers’ Market
Burnett County Farmers Market (Siren)
Columbus – Fall River – Rio Community Family Market
Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Market (Whitehall)
Farmers Garden Market
Frederic Farmers Market
Future Neenah Farmers Market
Greendale Downtown Market
Hudson Farmers Market @ Plaza 94
Independence Farmers Market
Monday Market at the Y (Chippewa Falls)
New Glarus Farmers Market
Ontario Farmer’s Market
Oshkosh Saturday Farmers Market, Inc.
Osseo Farmers Market
Paoli Mill Farmer’s Market (Belleville)
Prairie du Chien Thursday Night Farmers Market
Richland Area Farmers’ Market (Richland Center)
Stoughton Community Farmers Market
TCC Farmers Market (Hartford)
The Farmers Market at Town Square (Green Lake)
Viroqua Farmers Market
Westside Community Market (Madison)
Additionally, 28 farmers markets in in Illinois and 25 in Minnesota will be receiving grants.
The grants will be offered again next year. Starting in 2024, market organizations will be eligible for the grant every other year. Farmer vendors who are clients of Compeer will continue to be eligible every year, with priority given to those who have not previously received the grant. Learn more at compeer.com/giving-back.
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