Secretary Vilsack proclaimed August 6-12, 2023, as National Farmers Market Week to celebrate the growth and impact of farmers markets and their vital role in America’s food supply chain. This year, USDA is especially excited to celebrate the week and showcase our new efforts to support small to mid-sized farmers and regional food systems, including farmers markets. This past spring USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) announced the creation of new USDA Regional Food Business Centers and Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure programs that are providing resources for new and expanded local market opportunities and furthering our work to strengthen the food system.
The USDA Regional Food Business Centers, among other goals, are taking the current growth and vitality of farmers markets and their vendors even further by providing technical assistance, capacity building investment, and coordination. These Centers support both new and established small and mid-sized farms and food businesses as they plan for the future of their businesses, identify opportunities to build capacity, and navigate federal programs and funding opportunities for future growth.
The Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program is building upon the Regional Centers goals by using direct investment to expand capacity and infrastructure for the middle of the food supply chain. For farmers markets and vendors, these funds assist with local and regional food aggregation, manufacturing, storing, transportation, wholesaling and distribution that are vital to increasing sales and getting healthy, fresh products to customers.
It is important to have locally led initiatives like these to support producers, consumers, and various sales outlets including farmers markets. As people across America celebrate National Farmers Market Week, USDA will be sharing agency and partner resources and recognizing grant recipient stories that have sparked positive change in their own communities.