A stop during my recent visit to Ohio was the historic North Market located in downtown Columbus.
The North Market successfully addresses the needs of small and local businesses for retail space, and provides local, healthy and sustainably grown and processed food for consumers. Over one million customers annually have the opportunity to sample and purchase a tremendous array of local products including fruits and vegetables, meats, baked goods, ethnic foods, seafood, wines, ice cream and many other products.
I had the opportunity to visit with and obtain valuable input from producers, processors, and vendors at the North Market. Establishing and maintaining markets for small and local producers is important to USDA, and serves as a catalyst for rural America. USDA Agricultural Marketing Service offers specific programs including the Specialty Crops Block Grant, Federal State Market Improvement Program, and the Farmers Market promotion program which offer funding and support to stakeholders nationwide. These programs have played an important role in developing domestic and international markets and specifically demonstrate USDA’s role as a partner with state government and the private sector.
Last word on the North market – being from New Mexico, I especially enjoyed the salsas and the Bangkok Peanut ice cream!