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Bessemer, AL receives Technical Assistance to Start Farmers Market

Release Date: 01/25/2016
Contact Information: James Pinkney, (404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main), pinkney.james@epa.gov

ATLANTA – Bessemer, AL has been selected as one of 27 rural community projects across the country to participate in Local Foods, Local Places, a federal initiative that helps communities increase economic opportunities for local farmers and related businesses, create vibrant places and promote childhood wellness by improving access to healthy local food.

Bessemer, Alabama, will receive technical assistance to start a farmers market in their downtown, convert vacant lots into community gardens, and build an urban farm and garden project using a former public housing property on a federally designated flood plain.

The selected communities were chosen from more than 300 applicants. Together, they will receive technical assistance valued at $850,000.

The White House Rural Council and six federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority, joined together to announce the selection of the communities.

Each Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) partner community works with a team of experts who help community members recognize local assets and opportunities, set goals for revitalizing downtowns and neighborhoods, develop an implementation plan and then identify targeted resources from the participating federal agencies to help implement those plans.

Launched in 2014, LFLP has already helped 26 communities make a difference in people’s lives. With technical assistance through LFLP, participants are taking innovative approaches to common challenges, like launching business incubators to support food entrepreneurs and starting cooperative grocery stores to help revitalize main streets. They are developing centrally located community kitchens and food hubs to aggregate and market local foods. Through the integration of transportation and walkability planning they are connecting people to markets and local restaurants. Health outcomes are being targeted through school and community programs that teach children about nutrition, provide hands-on experience growing food and expand local markets and increase access to them through expanded use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

For more information on the initiative:
http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places

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