AERO Receives $100,000 Grant from USDA to promote Abundant Montana!

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AERO receives $100,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture for 2015 Farmers Market Promotion Program for its Marketing Montana: Connecting Producers Program

The US Department of Agriculture has just announced the recipients of its 2015 Farmers Market Promotion Program grants and the Alternative Energy Resources Organization (AERO) has been awarded $100,000 for its Marketing Montana: Connecting Producers program, which will grow and improve AERO’s Abundant Montana Directory and promote agritiourism opportunities for both consumers and producers in Montana. The FMPP grant program is designed to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations.

For over 20 years, AERO’s Abundant Montana Directory has been the state’s premier directory for sustainably produced food, farm products and businesses. This comprehensive online directory allows users anywhere to search and discover sustainable farms, ranches, as well as sustainability-minded businesses and events. Abundant Montana creates a platform to highlight the ever-growing sustainable agriculture movement happening right here in Montana.

Various organizations have mapped aspects of Montana’s local food system infrastructure for different purposes. However, Abundant is the only statewide up-to-date, comprehensive, interactive, and searchable directory of sustainable farms and ranches, products, and services, including agritourism opportunities. With this project, AERO will be able to increase the functionality, accessibility, and comprehensiveness of Abundant Montana, develop and implement a statewide marketing plan of Abundant Montana through new innovative media channels to increase direct producer to consumer outreach, and create educational materials to help producers engage in and expand agritourism.

Montana is an agricultural state, yet over half of Montana’s counties are considered food deserts. Although Montana was self-sufficient in food production 50 years ago, more and more local farmers and ranchers are struggling to stay in the market. AERO’s Marketing Montana project helps local farmers, ranchers, and food-based businesses and organizations competitively market their sustainably-produced food, farm products, and services.

How our food is produced and the distance it travels impacts the prosperity of our communities and the health of our landscapes. Connecting people with local, healthy foods will create sustainable change in Montana’s communities. Please visit AbundantMontana.org, and see for yourself what our state has to offer!

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