Winneshiek County farmers interested in starting or expanding local food production, processing, marketing or distribution in Northeast Iowa are eligible to apply for a mini-grant from Winneshiek County Development, Inc. (WCDI).

The grant funds may be used for start-up or expansion costs related to growing or marketing local food. Funds must be used on projects that will build the capacity of the farm to produce food long-term.

Producers might use the funds for building or renovating facilities for growing, packing or storing local food, or to purchase equipment for production or processing of food. Projects related to the marketing or transportation of local foods will also be considered.

Projects that will not be eligible for the grants include the purchase of seeds or transplants of annual crops, costs related to membership into farmers markets or coops, the purchase of inputs such as fertilizer, compost and feed, costs related to land clearing or seeding or wine making.

Producers may be awarded up to $1,500.

Applications are due by Tuesday, Feb. 19. E-mail them to wcdi@thinkdecorah.com; drop them off at 507 W. Water St., Decorah; or mail them to WCDI, P.O. Box 288, Decorah, Iowa 52101.

The mini-grants are part of an effort by WCDI to promote and encourage the procurement and consumption of local healthy foods and active lifestyles for youth and families in Northeast Iowa.

Contact WCDI Director Randy Uhl at 562-382-6061 or wcdi@thinkdecorah.com for more information and to receive a grant application.