National Farmers Market Week is a good example of why I say it’s an exciting time to be in agriculture. More than ever, all segments of the food industry are coming together to provide consumers with foods fresh from the farm, and farmers markets lead the way.
As I visited markets in Alexandria, La., and Greenwood, S.C.—and right here in Washington, D.C.—I saw firsthand the positive impact of farmers markets on the businesses and communities around them. And, through our 2015 Market Managers Survey results, we know that across the nation farmers markets are helping build businesses and bring communities together.
It’s not too late for you to still celebrate National Farmers Market Week! Visit our National Farmers Market Directory to find a market near you. The directory is a free resource managed by my agency, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
With a 98 percent increase in farmers markets listed in our directory since 2006, more than 8,600 large and small farmers markets are bringing fresh, local foods to consumers and connecting communities with their farmers. At the same time, communities are discovering that their local farmers market is great place to meet friends, learn a new skill, or learn about local art, music and culture.
During the week, we also asked you to share a photo of your favorite part of the farmers market on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtags #marketfav and #localiscool. Well, from Santa Monica, Calif.; to Harker Heights, Texas; to here in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, you responded! In fact, more than 500 of you used the hashtags to share your market favorites with more than two million people!
The week has been universally celebrated, with market shoppers, farmers and ranchers, rural and urban communities, kids and adults, local cooperatives and state agriculture departments all sharing their #marketfavs and visiting markets.
I would personally like to recognize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for allowing us to “take over” their Instagram account this week to share our agency’s mission and communicate about the role that America’s farmers and ranchers in safeguarding our national food security.
A big thanks also goes to the Farmers Market Coalition for all their tremendous work strengthening and promoting farmers markets and getting the word out about National Farmers Market Week.
Thank you all for making this week a great success by showing America’s farmers and market managers how much we appreciate them and how much we depend on them to make our communities great.
For more on National Farmers Market Week, check out the Farm to Table Talk podcast with Administrator Starmer.