The Safe at the Winter Farmers’ Market Cost-Share Program provides financial assistance to Minnesota farmers’ markets operational in the winter months to purchase supplies and equipment 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.

Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible, you must be a farmers’ market in Minnesota that is operational between the months of November 2020 – March 2021. The farmers’ market must meet a minimum of four times during this time period. The farmers’ market must include a minimum of five locally grown and/or cottage food vendors who sell at the winter market.

Eligible Purchases

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:

  • Hand sanitizer or customer handwashing stations (water catching buckets, water dispensers, paper towels, soap, etc.).
  • Tables to place in front of display tables to increase distance between customers and vendors.
  • Rope, fencing, tape, chalk, etc. to create walkways or borders to direct traffic and guide customers through their shopping experience.
  • Signage to communicate proper handwashing, social distancing, and safety instructions.
  • Sanitation supplies to clean “high touch” surfaces.

If you have other ideas, contact Emily Mehr for approval prior to purchase.

Amount Available

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 both of the following, you may be reimbursed an additional $50 for each program (up to $300 total):

  • SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) authorized for the 2020 season
  • Market Bucks for the Winter Farmers’ Market

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. Eligible items must have a purchase and pay date after September 15, 2020 and must be used specifically for the winter farmers’ market. Payments are made approximately two to four weeks after your application is approved. The maximum amount to be reimbursed to each market association is $300.

The MDA anticipates making approximately $10,000 available for this program. Contact Emily Mehr if you have questions about the amount of funding remaining before submitting your application materials.

Applying

We will accept applications until December 15, 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. Markets that participated in the Safe at the Farmers’ Market Cost-Share Program (Summer 2020) are also eligible to apply for the Safe at the Winter Farmers’ Market Cost-Share Program.

APPLY ONLINE

Things to complete with the online application:

  • Electronic copies of your proof(s) of purchase (receipts, itemized paid invoices, or invoices with proof of payment such as a canceled check, bank statement, or credit card statement) for items you are claiming for reimbursement.
  • Copy of your market’s 2020 SNAP Authorization form. If your market previously applied for the Safe at the Farmers’ Market Cost Share Program (Summer 2020), you do not need to resubmit this document.
  • Electronic copy of your IRS Form W-9, signed and dated. If you do not have this, you can complete a digital W-9 within the online application.

We will not add your application to the list for funding until all parts of the application are received. If you need this information in an alternative format, or cannot apply online, please contact the program administrator.