Resource Spotlight: USDA-AMS Technical Assistance


You may have seen the LFPP and FMPP Discussion Group where webinars and tools for LFPP and FMPP grantees (but open to all!) are being shared - and if not, check it out here. For this Resource Spotlight, we’ve spoken with the people behind these fantastic resources: Sarah Rocker and Bryan Moyer, the National Coordinators of the USDA-AMS Technical Assistance (AMSTA) resource Portal and Network to learn more about the wealth of info they’ve curated for you.
 
A little background….
 
AMSTA services are dedicated to supporting current LFPP and FMPP recipients from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 award years. Its run out of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development at Penn State University in cooperative agreement with USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. Brian and Sarah manage the AMSTA resource portal programming and website and facilitate connection of services between grant recipients as well as consulting matches with our team of food systems expert mentors. 
Through its resource portal database, peer-to-peer networking site, live webinar series and one-on-one assistance from our mentor team, AMSTA provides content and resources to help with grant project design, implementation and evaluation across a range of food systems topics including:
  • Direct, Wholesale and Institutional Market Strategies, Development and Promotion 
  • Event Planning Support
  • Strategic Partnership Development
  • Designing and Conducting Project and Program Evaluations
  • Grant Reporting Support
For a full list of topics of expertise by our mentor consultants, please visit http://sites.psu.edu/amsta/meet-the-team/
PS. If you need a resource that they don’t have, use the “Request a Resource” page to let them know! http://sites.psu.edu/amsta/request-a-resource/
 
Contact information:
Okay now for the fun stuff…
 
How would you describe AMSTA? But there’s a catch… describe AMSTA in a haiku! 
 
Food systems projects
One stop shop for all your needs
We are here for you!
 
What does AMSTA bring to the (national food systems) table?
 
Dedicated and targeted support for current LFPP and FMPP awardees. We also recognize many of our services and trainings are relevant to others who are working on non-USDA funded (or future potential LFPP/FMPP) projects and welcome your visit to our resource portal and trainings!
 
What do people/orgs look to you for?
 
We are here to support LFPP and FMPP awardees through implementation, evaluation and reporting on their grant projects.  Sometimes grant projects don’t always go as planned; our resource portal, webinars and free consulting exist as resources for problem solving challenges that arise in grant implementation, including making unexpected mid-course changes to the grant deliverables or outcomes.  Our purpose is a “one-stop-shop” to help support and troubleshoot any challenges awardees may have along the way.
 
What three (or four!) problems can someone find solutions for on your site?
 
We offer targeted assistance to FMPP and LFMPP across various stages of the grant award cycle:
Are there certain tools or resources that you’ve found especially popular?
 
We promote many resources through our online database, and are continually updating as we learn about new sources of support relevant for LFPP and FMPP projects. For a list resources we love, visit: http://sites.psu.edu/amsta/find-resources/
 
Who can access your resources? How?
 
One-on-one free consulting with our food systems mentors is a service limited to current LFPP and FMPP awardees, however all other resources we offer (online resource database, webinar series and FSLN peer-to-peer discussion group) are open to any individual, organization or business currently or tentatively planning a future LFPP or FMPP type project.  Please visit our website or contact us through our website to find out how we might support your current needs.
 
What other resources or support is AMSTA looking for?
 
Does your organization or institution offer services or trainings that are relevant for LFPP or FMPP recipients?
If so, we’d love to connect with you to promote your services through our database and programing.  Food systems projects are often complex and have overlap with many types of scope, scale and geographic boundaries; our goal is to cross-promote the work of other organizations and service providers in order to disseminate the most relevant technical assistance support to the diverse grant recipients across the country.
 
What other “resource-full” organizations would you recommend?
 
Our online database lists numerous organizations and institutions that have research, tools and knowledge that support LFPP and FMPP awards.  We are continually updating this list with new resources and contacts. http://sites.psu.edu/amsta/find-resources/
 
How can someone get in touch with you for more information?
 
Whether you are a current (or potential future!) grant recipient looking for assistance, or an organizational or institutional service provider interested in partnering with us, you can reach Brian or Sarah through our Contact Us page: http://sites.psu.edu/amsta/contact-our-help-center/
 
We look forward to hearing from you!
 
Anything else?!?!
 
We are grateful for the visioning and coordination efforts of the Wallace Center, and are excited to take part in the ongoing dialogue in the Food Systems Leadership Network platform. See you there!
 
Thank you Sarah and Brian for taking the time to tell us more about AMSTA - head on over to the AMSTA-moderated, LFPP and FMPP Discussion Group to connect further!

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