March 4, 2010

USDA gives grants to 7 in Maine

— Kennebec Journal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded grants to seven projects in Maine that will strengthen local economies and help new and existing businesses and farmers, said the office of Rep. Mike Michaud.

Last week, at the opening of a farmers market near the White House, 86 Farmers Market Promotion Program grants were awarded to organizations throughout the country as part of the USDA's ''Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food'' initiative.

The Presque Isle-based Aroostook Band of Micmacs ($31,739) and the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association of Unity ($68,450) received money to establish, expand and promote farmers markets and other direct producer-to-consumer marketing opportunities, according to a news release.

The second set of grants was provided through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Opportunity Grant program. A total of $2.2 million was awarded nationally to help 35 rural businesses, including five in Maine:

n MaineStream Finance in Bangor ($11,460)

n The Northern Maine Development Commission ($115,000)

n The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Economic Development Co. ($50,000)

n Penobscot Indian Nation Enterprises ($49,987)

n Four Directions Development Corp. ($49,975)

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