LANSING — The Michigan Economic Development Corp. today announced two requests for proposals aimed at boosting food entrepreneurship in Michigan and fostering a sense of place in Michigan communities.
“Farmers markets and food trucks improve our downtowns and bring vitality and economic growth to our communities,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “These grants will support food entrepreneurs and local markets, strengthen communities and create jobs in our state.”
The Farmers Market Grant Program will provide one-time grants between $10,000 and $50,000 to existing farmers markets that have been in operation for at least four years in Michigan. Projects for consideration include unique and innovative design elements, amenities for patrons and vendors, multi-use spaces, multi-modal transportation, marketing and signage. Projects that make markets more accessible to residents are also preferred.
Applicants must demonstrate they have commitments for a minimum of 50 percent in matching funds and that their projects will be completed by May 31, 2014. Projects that will be initiated within 60 days of executing a grant agreement and those with higher match dollars will be scored more favorably. The total amount available for the Farmers Market program is $200,000.
The Mobile Cuisine Startup Program is intended to expand the mobile cuisine, or food truck, industry throughout Michigan. The program will provide one-time grants of up to $10,000 to new food truck businesses or growing pre-existing businesses. Projects should offer easily accessible and unique food options to patrons in public spaces and contribute to the local economy by working with other local businesses and farms. The intent of this program is to assist with community and economic development by increasing pedestrian traffic in downtowns and traditional commercial cores.
Mobile Cuisine applicants must have a viable business plan, be registered to do business in Michigan and demonstrate their businesses will be operational by July 28, 2014. A minimum of 25 percent in matching funds is required; however, projects with a higher match will be scored more favorably. The total amount available for this program is $100,000.
Electronic submissions for both the Farmers Market and Mobile Cuisine RFPs are due by 3 p.m. July 1. Hand-delivered or mailed submissions will not be accepted.
There will be a question/answer period regarding the application and questions will be accepted until Monday, June 17. Questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responses to the Urban Farmers Market RFP questions will be posted at www.MichiganAdvantage.org/Farmers-Market-2013-RFP by close of business on June 21. Answers to the Mobile Cuisine RFP questions will be posted at www.MichiganAdvantage.org/Mobile-Cuisine-2013-RFP by 3 p.m. on June 17.
Awardees will be announced on or around July 28.