The Safe at the Farmers Market Cost Share Program provides financial assistance to Minnesota farmers markets to purchase equipment and supplies to keep markets, vendors, and customers safe and operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for this program is made available through the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Program and the Good Food Access Program.
To be eligible, you must be a farmers market in Minnesota. A farmers market is defined as an association of three or more persons who assemble at a defined location that is open to the public for the purposes of selling directly to the consumer the products of a farm or garden occupied an cultivated by the person selling the product. (Minn. Stat. 28A.151)
With this program, you may purchase equipment or supplies that will help you follow the Guidance for Minnesota Farmers Market and Vendors (PDF). Examples of eligible equipment and supplies include:
- Handwashing stations (water catching buckets, water dispensers, paper towels, soap, etc.)
- Tables to place in front of display tables to establish a 6-foot distance between customers and vendors
- Rope, fencing, tape, chalk, etc. to create walkways or borders to direct traffic and show customers where they can stand to maintain 6 feet of separation from others
- Signs to communicate proper handwashing and social distancing
- Sanitation supplies to clean all surfaces that people touch — tables, handwashing stations, door handles, card machines, shopping baskets, etc.
If you have other ideas, contact Emily Mehr for approval prior to purchase.
If you are a market that meets the applicant eligibility criteria, you may be reimbursed up to $200 for eligible expenses. If you are a market that is authorized for one or more of the following, you may be reimbursed an additional $50 for each program (up to $350 total):
- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) for the 2020 season
- Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks
Markets with multiple locations may apply for up to $100 per additional location. To be counted as a separate location, a market must be held at the site on a consistent schedule throughout the market season.
Payments are limited to the actual amount spent to purchase eligible items. These purchases must be documented with copies of receipts or paid invoices that you include with your application. Payments are made approximately two to four weeks after your application is approved. The maximum amount to be reimbursed to each market association is $1,000.
As of May 1, 2020, $15,000 of the original $20,000 is still available for reimbursements. Contact Emily Mehr if you have questions about the amount of funding remaining before submitting your application materials.
We will accept applications until May 31, 2020, or until all funds are gone, whichever is first.
Market managers or representatives of the board should apply on behalf of their farmers market. We will only accept one application per market association.
Read the application (PDF) for details on eligibility and requirements. If you need this information in an alternative format, please contact the program administrator.