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.
The USDA National Farmers Market Directory has been counting farmers markets for over 17 years. It is through the Directory that we know the number of farmers markets in the US has grown from 1,755 to 6,132 since 1994. It is also the way we know that nearly 900 farmers markets are open during the winter season. Because of the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, USDA has been able to create a vibrant map and robust list of farmers market locations across the country and make a dataset of the thousands of farmers markets publically available to inventive mobile app and website designers.
Open season for updating the 2011 USDA National Farmers Market Directory is happening right now. Listing in the USDA Farmers Market Directory is completely voluntary and relies on market managers to keep their listings current. Like, Velma, market managers can easily do so at www.usdadirectoryupdate.com .
The complete 2011 USDA National Farmers Market Directory will be released to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, August 7-13, 2011. However, if market managers update their listings by May 1, they will appear in the 2011 Directory by June 1.
If you are a market manager, join Velma and include your market in the 2011 USDA National Farmers Market Directory today.