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OSU-OKC Farmers Market awarded $250,000 USDA grant

The Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Farmers Market is the recipient of a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, school officials announced, making it one of 49 in the country supported through the Farmers Market Promotion Program. 

The funds are part of the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Farmers Market Promotion Program, and will be used over the course of three years to help increase awareness of the Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) Farmers Market.

OSU-OKC’s grant proposal also calls for the award to be used to increase sales of locally grown fruits and vegetables, and to form partnerships with community agencies to provide public school students with unique educational experiences that will increase their agricultural awareness, knowledge, and appreciation, and expose them to careers in the agriculture industry.

Farmers Market Manager Cody Yount said he would like to see the market become an in-demand field trip destination for local school groups.

“Educating our youth about nutrition and the importance of fresh-food consumption is critical as they grow up and become consumers themselves,” Yount said. “Encouraging them to make healthy food choices – like eating local fruits and vegetables – not only will improve their quality of life, but will support the livelihood of local farmers, as well.”

In addition to supporting educational opportunities, grant funds will be used to recruit new vendors and Farmers Market customers through the use of traditional and digital advertising and marketing efforts, thus providing greater access to fresh, locally grown food in an area of the city that is currently defined as a food desert.

OSU-OKC President Dr. Brad Williams said such efforts align with the mission of the university to be a relevant community partner.

“Increasing the region’s access to fresh food, while supporting local farmers, is a win-win proposition,” Williams said. “We appreciate USDA and its recognition that OSU-OKC’s Farmers Market is uniquely positioned to serve the community as a gathering place that facilitates the exchange of ideas pertaining to agricultural awareness and fresh-food consumption.”

The grant fund period began Sept. 30 and continues through September 2021. For more information about the OSU-OKC Farmers Market, go to www.osuokc.edu/farmersmarket. The market is located at 400 N Portland Ave. and is open for winter hours from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.