AGRICULTURE SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES NUMBER OF FARMERS MARKETS GROWS TO MORE THAN 5,200 NATIONWIDE
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2009 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the number of farmers markets in the United States is up more than 13 percent from a year ago. A recent update of the online Farmers Market Directory lists 5,274 markets nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008.
"Farmers markets assure that consumers have easier access to local fruits and vegetables and this growth demonstrates incredible interest consumers have in purchasing from local producers," said Vilsack. "Farmers market also connects the community to the local farmers who produce the fresh food, and play an important role in the direct marketing of produce to local consumers."
USDA's support of farmers markets is just one component of the 'Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food' initiative to help develop local and regional food systems and spur economic opportunity. By successfully restoring the link between consumers and local producers there can be new income opportunities for farmers and wealth can be generated that will stay in rural communities. There also can be a greater focus on sustainable agricultural practices and families can better access healthy, fresh, locally grown food.
Since USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) began to track farmers markets in 1994, the number has grown by nearly 4,000 nationwide. A national directory of farmers markets is available at www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets.
USDA has been sponsoring a seasonal farmers market for 14 years at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, and last year launched an indoor winter market. USDA also works with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Carver Office Building in Beltsville, Md., to support their farmers markets. In addition, the Department just published an update to its guide on how to establish or operate farmers markets on federal properties, available at www.ams.usda.gov/MarketingServicesPublications.
AMS continually updates market listings on the web. New information about markets and market contacts should be sent to Velma Lakins, Agricultural Marketing Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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