BERLIN — Do you grow fruit or vegetables to sell? How about meat or eggs? Or do you make a food product or run a food service business? You may be eligible for up to $500 to become a vendor at the Berlin Farmers’ Market. Funding is provided by a generous gift from the Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare Foundation.
As part of WREN’s Food and Farm Initiative, which seeks to build the local food system and produce more fresh, healthy food in the region. Matching grants are available to qualifying food businesses.
“Last year we had ten businesses in the program,” said David White, Food and Farm Program manager for WREN. “They received grants for equipment as well as coaching and classes. WREN’s goal is to help businesses grow and succeed. Selling at farmers’ markets is a great way to either enter the marketplace or find new customers.”
This year the grant funding will initially be open to vendors new to the WREN market, held during the summer in downtown Berlin. After we award new vendor funding, returning vendors will be encouraged to apply. “It’s a grant of up to $500,” White said. “If the new vendors don’t need it all, returning vendors will be contacted.”
According to the Farmers Market Coalition, there were more than 8,500 framers markets nation-wide in 2016. This is a 50 percent increase from just five years ago. Given this trend, many local farm and food producers can now give thoughtful consideration to becoming a member of the local food economy.