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Farmers Market Capital Development Program

Application Guidelines - Fiscal Year 2013-2014

Application Deadline
Anticipated Approval Announcement
Project Reimbursement Deadline
April 30, 2014
June 30, 2015

The purpose of the Farmers Market Capital Development Grant Program is to increase income to Tennessee farmers by providing assistance for the establishment or improvement of farmers markets in communities throughout Tennessee. Farmers markets provide excellent venues for agricultural producers to sell their locally grown, farm fresh products directly to consumers.

Grants are available to qualified farmers markets in amounts from $10,000 (minimum) to $100,000 (maximum) on a 50% matching basis.

  • Funding is limited and grant requests are competitive
  • Application deadline is March 7, 2014

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is providing this opportunity through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP).

Farmers Market Capital Development Program
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Eligibility Requirements
  1. Grant funds are available to publicly owned and operated farmers markets for planning, construction or development of a new or expanded farmers market. Grants are not available for private individuals, businesses or organizations.
  2. Grants must be issued through public entities such as a city or county government, local Chamber of Commerce, etc.
  1. Grants are made on a 50% matching basis. The amount of the local match is a factor in grant evaluation.
  2. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 7, 2014.
  3. Projects must be completed and invoices submitted no later than June 30, 2015.
  4. Activities must meet all state and local building, food safety, and regulatory requirements.
Eligible Activities - Proposed activities must be permanent or long term and serve to assist the creation, establishment or the improvement of a farmers market through the following activities:
  1. Infrastructure, examples include but are not limited to:
    1. construction of pavilion
    2. permanent farmers market signage
    3. architectural drawings for farmers market design
    4. purchase of property necessary for a farmers market
  2. Public Use Considerations, examples include but are not limited to:
    1. central heat and air
    2. concession areas
    3. handicap accessibility
    4. lighting
    5. parking areas
    6. restroom facilities
  3. Retail Considerations, examples include but are not limited to:
    1. counters
    2. loading docks
    3. refrigeration equipment (i.e., fruit and vegetable cooling equipment)
    4. permanent shelters
    5. utility sinks for fruit and vegetable sale preparation
    6. permanent display tables and shelving for sales floor
  4. Ineligible activities include, but are not limited to:
    1. counters
    2. loading dock
    3. refrigeration equipment (i.e., fruit and vegetable cooling equipment)
    4. utility sinks for fruit and vegetable sale preparation
    5. shelters
    6. permanent display tables and shelving for sales floor
    7. shopping carts
    8. tables
  5. Ineligible costs include, but are not limited to:
    1. Administrative and overhead costs
    2. Community festivals
    3. Give-a-way items
    4. Motorized vehicles (i.e. golf carts, forklifts, mowers, tractors, bulldozers, etc.)
    5. Equipment and tools to be utilized for construction
    6. Landscaping
    7. Paying off existing debt
    8. Travel and other travel expenses related to the day-to-day operation of the organization
    9. Salaries, wages, and fringe benefits of farmers market employees
Application Process
  1. Complete and submit TAEP Farmers Market Capital Development Application by the March 7, 2014 deadline. Applications are available through the TDA Market Development office at (615) 837-5346 or via e-mail at
  2. The application will be evaluated and ranked by a staff committee of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the applicant will be notified of approval or disapproval for grant assistance. Only projects approved in advance by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture will be eligible for grant assistance. Approved projects must be completed and invoices submitted by the project deadline.
Application Evaluation Criteria

Only applications that are complete and include sufficient information will be considered for evaluation. Important considerations will be the overall soundness of the proposed activity’s goals, objectives, local commitment, project management and work plan. As part of the evaluation process, a meeting with the applicant and/or a visit to the applicant’s enterprise may be required.

Priority will be given to projects that:

    1. *Construction of a farmer’s market pavilion will be given highest priority.*
    2. Describe effectively the proposed project. Provide specifications for the proposed project including drawings and/or photographs. Describe work plan and timeline for the project. Project and reimbursement paperwork must be completed by June 30, 2015.
    3. Demonstrate 50% cost share match (i.e. federal, state, local or private financial cash participation). Provide supporting documents and financial commitment letters from all funding sources involved in the project. Preference will be given to cash match applicants.

      Certain in-kind expenses may be accepted if they are directly used in the construction or expansion of the activity. In-kind expenses must be identified and documented within the application proposal to be considered.
    4. Provide a detailed, line-item budget and written cost estimates from all vendors.
    5. Demonstrate successful completion of any past TAEP grant projects and programs.
TDA Reserves the Right to:
  1. Consider each funding request on a case by case basis
  2. Reject any or all requests
  3. Provide partial funding for specific activity components that may be less than the full amount requested
  4. Provide funding contingent on receiving additional information or testimony from the applicant
  5. Waive or modify minor irregularities in requests
  6. Require the applicant to work with TDA to complete all aspects of the application and reporting requirements
Contract Process
  1. A grant contract will be issued by TDA for each approved application. Funding is not considered approved until the applicant receives an approval letter and a fully executed copy of this signed contract. The Grantee will be required to submit various information including Substitute W-9 and ACH (Automated Clearing House) forms when the contract is approved.
  2. Any changes to the executed contract, including changes to the approved budget, must be approved in advance and in writing by TDA.
  3. The staff of TDA will monitor and evaluate each funded activity. TDA reserves the right to make site visits relating to the performance of the activity during and following completion.
Reporting Requirements: Following the completion of the approved grant activity, the applicant will complete a Project Summary and return it to TDA. The format of this report will be specified by TDA. This report must include:
  1. Activity Summary
    a.  Brief description of the completed activity and its objectives
    b.  Financial impact of activity to farm income and the community
    c.  Other benefits of the activity
  2. Documentation
    a. Receipts of actual expenses as outlined in activity budget
    b. Photographs of activities, equipment or facilities, built, purchased and/or installed
    c. Copies of marketing materials prepared and/or purchased
  3. Forms
    a. Invoice for actual amount of reimbursement based on amount authorized
    b. The invoice must clearly relate each expenditure to corresponding approved
         items in the application

Following TDA review of the materials submitted, and if no additional information or site visits are required, the Department will process payment to the applicant.

Contact Information

Please direct any questions concerning this program to:

Jan Keyser, Marketing Specialist - TAEP
Tennessee Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 40627, Holeman Building
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 837-5346