In October Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced recipients of USDA grants to strengthen local food systems across the nation in an effort to revitalize rural economies and communities. SDSU Extension was chosen to receive a 2-year Local Foods Promotion Program Implementation grant, funded through USDA’s Ag Marketing Service. The grant will assist the newly organized Dakota Fresh food hub in their early stages of marketing and sales.
Dakota Fresh has developed into a producer-owned LLC, which is currently seeking membership from no more than 25 farmers in the region. The LLFP Implementation grant will assist the group in completing the following objectives:
- Obtain commitments from up to 25 farmers as members in Dakota Fresh.
- File paperwork necessary to obtain LLC status in South Dakota.
- Build a website and extended marketing campaign.
- Hire a part-time manager to lead marketing and distribution efforts.
- Select and equip a small warehouse site for aggregation of products.
- Lease a delivery vehicle for transportation to markets.
- Certify producer-members in food and farm safety plans.
The LLFP Implementation grant comes at a critical time in building South Dakota’s local food system. Consumers not only want to eat fresh, high quality foods, but they are more interested in ever in knowing where and how their food was produced. Building strong relationships between eaters and producers can benefit everyone, and boost local economies. Dakota Fresh looks forward to providing new markets that will offer incentives to new young farmers, as well as boosting production for established local foods producers.
For more information view the video below or contact Kari O’Neill at 605.685.6972.