Monthly Archives: May 2014

Exciting School Garden Funding Opportunity!

Exciting School Garden Funding Opportunity!

Growing Lunch-A School Garden Grant Program

Growing Lunch is a school garden grant program administered through the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce with the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  Eligible schools can receive a grant up to $500 to purchase supplies needed to plant a school garden. Growing Lunch seeks to enhance the Farm to School program across the state.  Farm to School provides locally-grown produce to our state’s schools and also seeks to educate students on agriculture.  This program will act as an educational tool to enhance the knowledge of school-aged children on agriculture, healthy eating, and how food arrives on their plate three times a day.  As society becomes increasingly further away from agricultural practices and the farm, it remains pertinent to educate students on the origin of their food; MDAC has designated a website for those interested in the Farm to School Program and educational resources and materials for Farm to School Week,


All schools, K-12, in the State of Mississippi are eligible to apply, although this program is ideally geared towards younger school-aged children.  For more information, please see the application (link below) or contact Susan Head at

School Garden Grant Info Application

USDA Media Advisory Regarding Support for Local Foods


USDA Secretary Vilsack Hosts Media Call to Announce Historic USDA Support for Local Food Systems

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2014—TOMORROW, Thursday, May 8 at 1:15 pm EDT, USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce historic investment opportunities to strengthen local and regional food systems, including food hubs, farmers markets, aggregation and processing facilities, distribution services, and other local food business enterprises. The funding Vilsack will announce comes through programs authorized by the new 2014 Farm Bill.

As consumer demand for locally-grown food continues to skyrocket and the local food industry matures and expands, Secretary Vilsack has identified local food as one of the four pillars of USDA’s commitment to rural economic development. USDA support of local food gives farmers and ranchers more market opportunities, provides consumers with more choices, and creates jobs.

EBT-MarketLink Workshop to be held on May 7th and 8th


EBT-Marketlink Workshop for Growers

On May 7th and 8th, 2014 there will be a meeting for fruit and vegetable growers that are currently or are potential participants at farmers markets that are interested in accepting SNAP/EBT payments, debit and credit payments at farmers markets and on the farm as well.  At this meeting growers will get information about Marketlink, which is a new USDA program designed to provide eligible growers with free machines that combine all these payment transactions into one piece of equipment, a printer and an IPhone, meanwhile providing reasonable transaction rates.


In addition, the Food and Nutrition Service for USDA will have staff members present to assist growers with the USDA authorization application process.  In addition, there will be representatives of WorldPay, who is the third party processor for MarketLink, on hand to assist with completing the application for the processing agreement application.  The Mississippi Department of Human Services will be attending as well.


Workshops will be on May 7 at 10:00 a.m. in Jackson, MS at the MS Ag and Forestry Museum.  On May 8, the workshop will be held in Grenade, MS at the MSU Extension Building.  It is important for the registration to be completed to assist us with gauging potential attendance. For more information please see the attached information or contact Purvie Green at or 601-359-1168.


Complete information, registration form, and directions can be found here:

Mississippi Marketlink ebt meeting info registration form and directions