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usda national farmers market directory

Lessons from USDA's Farmers Market Help Local Food Businesses

The USDA Farmers Market, next to the Department’s headquarters and steps from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is a “living laboratory” for identifying and testing strategies to help support local and regional food systems.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the market, my colleagues and I at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which manages the weekly Friday market, tried a few new approaches during the 2015 season.  Our goals were to make the market more successful for vendors and more enticing to visitors.

For example, we opened the market a month early--in May instead of in June.  We also redesigned the layout of the market, allowing us to more than double the number of vendors from 14 to 32.

Big Data for Small Producers - USDA Market News Now Covers 85 Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are an important part of local and regional food systems.  Nationwide, 150,000 farmers and ranchers are selling their products directly to consumers to meet the growing demand for local food.  Many sell their products at farmers markets, which can be a catalyst for future growth. 

According to USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, there are over 8,400 farmers markets across the country serving as community gathering places where America’s food producers are building successful businesses and bringing fresh, local food to their communities.  As local and regional food systems continue to expand, so does the need for reliable market data.

Giving Thanks to Local Farmers

On Thanksgiving, friends, families and communities come together across America to give thanks and celebrate the autumn harvest.  I love the opportunity to reflect on all that I am grateful for, including the  hard-working farmers and ranchers who provide the delicious and nutritious food for the Thanksgiving table.  I also enjoy making my favorite traditional dishes with fresh, local ingredients that support the farmers and ranchers in my own community.

Secretary Vilsack has identified local and regional food systems as one of four pillars of USDA’s work to help revitalize the rural economy, create jobs and improve access to fresh, healthy food for millions of Americans.   Buying local supports the farmers and small businesses in your community, making it the perfect way to say thank you.

The Easy Way to Find Local Food - USDA Launches New Local Food Directories

What a great time of year to visit your local farmers market! From root crops such as beets, carrots and radishes to salad greens like Swiss chard, lettuce and spinach—farmers markets are full of fresh ingredients that you can use in your favorite fall recipes. My agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, maintains the USDA's National Farmers Market Directory, where you can search for local markets and discover where to get your squashes, pumpkins, pears and apples. There are over 8,200 farmers markets listed with their locations, operating hours and other details, providing a simple and easy way for consumers and producers around the country to find each other.

Local and regional food systems, including farmers markets, are one of USDA's four key pillars to revitalize rural economies and improve access to fresh, healthy food for millions of Americans. Last month, I announced that AMS was building three new local food directories for food hubs, community-supported agriculture operations and on-farm markets. I asked local food enterprises to go online and list the details of their businesses in the new directories—and they responded!

Thousands of Reasons to Celebrate National Farmers Market Week

The 15th Annual National Farmers Market Week is off to a great start!

Farmers markets connect and unite people living in urban and rural environments, provide access to fresh, healthy and delicious foods, and—best of all—put a face to the farmers and ranchers who produce their wonderful wares. We, in turn, can support farmers and local communities with our purchases.

USDA Farmers Market Opens with a Recipe to Honor Our Veterans

I love farmers markets. The vibrant colors, enticing smells, and vivacious people make me feel so very alive and happy. Local markets also work to bring communities together.  I have been to a number of farmers markets across the U.S., but my favorite one is located right here in Washington, DC—in fact, it’s right here at USDA.

My agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, is proud to host the USDA Farmers Market each week, building connections to the vendors, customers, and surrounding community.  Tomorrow, June 6, the USDA Farmers Market opens a new season with a salute to our military, veterans and American agriculture.   We will not only celebrate the bounty of the market, but will also thank our military for serving with valor, courage, and distinction.

Farmers Market Managers: Update or Add Your Listing to the National Directory

Located in Virginia’s horse country, just an hour outside of Washington, DC, is the historic town of Middleburg. Deeply embedded in the town’s roots is a vibrant agricultural sector that is the driving force behind this small community’s success. Each Saturday morning from the spring through the fall, you can find a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and baked goods at the Middleburg Community Farmers Market (MCFM). Raising the market’s visibility is vital to its continued success, so the MCFM recently updated its information in the USDA’s 2014 National Farmers Market Directory – connecting customers to fresh, quality items produced by its local farmers.

The directory, maintained by the Agricultural Marketing Service, is designed to provide consumers with convenient access to information about your farmers market listing including: market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, accepted forms of payment, and more. Thousands of farmers market managers around the country are taking a few minutes to update their market listing.

Add Your Market to the 2011 USDA National Farmer's Market Directory Today!

Recently, Velma Lakins, our dedicated Manager for the USDA Farmers Market, joined thousands of other farmers markets around the country in updating her market listing for the 2011 National USDA Farmers Market Directory.  “It was so easy!” she said.  “In less than 10 minutes I was able to update our listing so that USDA employees, neighbors, and visitors can know when and where our market is open, and have it counted among the nation’s 6,100 plus farmers markets.  ”

Even though the USDA Farmers Market has been listed in previous USDA Farmers Market Directories, Velma needed to update her listing this year to take advantage of some of the Farmers Market Directory’s new fields.  For the first time, the USDA Farmers Market Directory will allow Market Managers, such as Velma, to indicate multiple locations for their markets.  In Velma’s case, the USDA Farmers Market actually has two locations during the year – in the parking lot at 12th and Independence Aves NW, just steps away from the Smithsonian metro stop, operating between June – November, and inside the USDA’s South Building, at wing three, operating from December – May.  In addition to updating her locations, Velma was also able to specifically note that the USDA Farmers Market operates on government property (as opposed to a street, a church, a park or a school) and has extended its market season through May.

Earn Your Healthy Eating Badge and Check In with the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory

As part of CNN’s week-long series “Eatrocracy: Mind, Body and Wallet,” the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory is featured in a unique way to encourage consumers to use farmers markets as a source of fresh, local and healthy food.  The series showcases our database of more than 6,200 farmers markets currently listed in the USDA Farmers Market Directory with the social networking and geo-locating mobile application, Foursquare. The series debuted yesterday  and will continue to run through the week on CNN. We’re thrilled to see several “Healthy Eating Badge” check-ins already!