Farmers market

Specialty Crop Promotion and Capacity Building Grant

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Iowa Healthiest State Initiative Specialty Crop Promotion and Capacity Building Grant Application

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis

The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative will accept applications from farmers markets, farm stands and/or CSA’s , with priority on rural and isolated communities, who currently do not have the incentive program, Double Up Food Bucks, in operation. Through an application process, the selected locations will receive technical assistance and financial support from the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative to increase the market’s sales of fresh fruits and vegetables through the following tactics;  implementation of the Double Up Food Bucks program, increasing capacity of the market through a $1500 grant, implementation and sustainability planning for the market and incentive program, and digital marketing support and strategies to engage new customers that may be interested in purchasing specialty crops at the farmers market or farm stand locations. 

Project Objectives
  1. 30 total farmers markets, farm stands, or CSA’s will be selected by the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative during the years 2022, 2023, and 2024 with priority given to farms/markets located in food deserts or rural locations. 
  2. Iowa Healthiest State Initiative will support participating locations with outreach, promotion and partnership building to help engage new shoppers, vendors, and stakeholders for specialty crop purchasing.
  3. Iowa Healthiest State Initiative will provide technical assistance and support to participating locations to implement a fruit and vegetable incentive program to increase specialty crop purchasing
  4. Iowa Healthiest State Initiative will help guide sustainability planning of participating sites through the cultivation of strategic partnerships that can provide long-term support of the market beyond the grant funding cycle. 
  5. Iowa Healthiest State Initiative will provide selected locations with up to $1500 of funding to support capacity building efforts 

  1. Farmers markets, farm stands and/or CSA’s , with priority on rural and isolated communities, 
  2. Does not currently participate in the Double Up Food Bucks program
  3. Currently accepts SNAP EBT payments or will begin accepting SNAP EBT payments during the period of the grant
If selected, Iowa Healthiest State will provide:
  1. All necessary program materials for implementation of Double Up Food Bucks at your farmers market (DUFB script, flyers and posters advertising the program for distribution in your community, and signs for participating vendors)
  2. Required in-person and/or webinar format trainings
  3. Templates and tools for record-keeping and required program reporting
  4. Technical assistance throughout the season
  5. Funds to help support capacity building at your market for the 12-month grant period
The Iowa Healthiest State Initiative expects that your farmers market will:
  1. Attend required training sessions
  2. Implement SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) EBT POS and programming (if not already implemented)
  3. Grant funding cannot be used to implement or sustain SNAP programming and/or equipment
  4. Ensure adequate capacity to operate the program and cover any associated administrative costs following the termination of the grant cycle
  5. Implement Double Up Food Bucks incentive program, distributing and redeeming DUFB to customers at the point of sale 
  6. Provide HSI with third-party verification of SNAP sales at the farmers market during the program season
  7. Promote fruit and vegetable incentive program at your farmers market and in the local community
  8. Complete all grant reporting requirements
  9. Participate in all grant evaluation and data collection methods

Application Questions

Farmers Market Information:

Fiscal Agent/Operating Organization Information

Contact Information for day-to-day operations (if different than fiscal agent)

Farmers Market Indicators

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)

To help ensure that customers from all economic backgrounds can afford to shop at their local market, many market operators are taking advantage of federal nutrition assistance programs that help customers purchase healthy, fresh food. These programs include the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for Women Infant and Children (WIC) and Seniors (SFMNP), as well as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. By accepting alternative forms of payment—including SNAP, WIC FMNP and SFMNP coupons—farmers markets are creating welcoming environments where everyone, regardless of budget constraints, can feel welcome and shop. SNAP not only allows low-income families greater access to fresh nutritional foods, but also increases farmer/vendor revenue.  

Currently in Iowa there are 2 ways of offering SNAP as a form of payment in the farmers market setting:  the Central POS System and the Individual POS System. 

The Central POS System that uses script (i.e. tokens) enables a farmers market to have one SNAP authorization from the USDA (FNS permit) and to operate a central point of sale (POS) terminal for all participating vendors. Customers redeeming SNAP benefits swipe their EBT card at a central location at the market and receive tokens or paper scrip which they spend like cash for eligible food at the market. Payment is electronically transferred directly into the market bank account. Market management distributes payments to vendors and assumes responsibility for accounting and reporting requirements. 

The Individual POS System allows individual farmers/vendors to manage their own SNAP redemption by obtaining their own FNS permit; purchase/lease their own POS terminal; and independently accept SNAP benefits at their stalls. In this system, a customer swipes his/her card at the vendor stall and the sale is completed without the need for tokens or scrip. Payments are directly deposited in the vendor bank account and there is a very limited reporting requirement.

SNAP EBT Point of Sale System

If your market is currently operating a central POS system, please answer the following questions.

Education and Outreach


Capacity Building

For the purpose of this Capacity Building Grant opportunity, capacity building is defined as: initiatives that are designed to strengthen a farmers’ markets, farm stand or CSA’s ability to enhance the sale of specialty crops in their community. Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of the farmers market, farm stand or CSA. (Examples: communications , financial management, staffing, technology, equipment)

Thank you for completing the 2022 Iowa Healthiest State Initiative Specialty Crop Promotion and Capacity Building Grant application. After you submit your application, a confirmation email will be sent to the primary contacts provided in the application.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the application please reach out to Aryn McLaren, Director of Healthy Incentives.


C: 303-669-2254