Local Food Research & Development

Farmers Markets and Direct-to-Consumer Marketing: conducts regular data collection and analysis of farmers market operations and other direct-to-consumer marketing outlets on a national and regional scale, in order to help market planners, managers, participants and interested stakeholders better understand evolving influences on market performance and profitability, and be able to incorporate these considerations into their strategic and business plans.

Food Hubs and Other Aggregation Models: monitors the growth and conducts case study analysis of an emerging sector of food enterprises that seek to ramp up the amount of source-identified local and regional food product available to retail, commercial food service and institutional customers by providing aggregation, storage, processing and/or distribution services on an affordable basis to small and mid-scale producers, along with targeted training and guidance aimed at improving their ability to supply larger-volume wholesale buyers.

Wholesale Markets and Facility Design: provides targeted site assessment and design services for food market planners, managers and community stakeholders to improve the efficiency of permanent food market facilities.

USDA Farmers Market: The Department’s own “living laboratory” for farmers market operations, the farmers market at USDA headquarters has been running strong for 17 years and counting on a seasonal basis, and currently operates throughout the year in both outdoor and indoor locations. Posted here are schedules of upcoming market days and special programs/events for USDA headquarters along with materials that provide transferable lessons about market management, layout and organizational self-assessment for use by farmers market stakeholders across the country.

AMS Grant Programs: AMS administers four grant programs to help farmers and ranchers market the food they produce, including programs that further farmers markets, specialty crops such as fruit and vegetables, local food marketing, and cost-share programs to help farmers become organic.

Contact Information

Main Office

USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service
Transportation and Marketing Programs
Marketing Services Division
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Room 4509-S, Stop 0269
Washington, DC 20250-0269
Phone: 202.720.8326
Fax: 202.690.0031

Ken Keck, Director
Ken.Keck@ams.usda.gov
202.619.1741

Debra Tropp, Chief/Supervisory Agricultural Marketing Specialist
Debra.Tropp@ams.usda.gov
202.720.8326

Fidel Delgado, Architect
Fidel.Delgado@ams.usda.gov
202.720.8562

Greg Grajewski, Industrial Engineer
Greg.Grajewski@ams.usda.gov
202.720.8563

Edward Ragland, Economist
Edward.Ragland@ams.usda.gov
202.690.1327

Samantha Schaffstall, Management and Program Analyst
Samantha.Schaffstall@ams.usda.gov
202.720.8426