The USDA National Farmers Market Directory, affectionately called the “farmers market census” has extended its deadline for receiving information about the country’s farmers markets through June 4. In 2009, the USDA counted over 5,200 operational farmers markets in the country. Thanks to the diligence of dedicated market managers, state Departments of Agriculture, state farmers market associations and others, the USDA has already heard from several hundred new markets, indicating that the farmers market industry is continuing to thrive in 2010.
Farmers market managers, state Departments of Agriculture, state farmers market associations, and other farmers market operators can continue to list their markets at the 2010 USDA Farmers Market Directory Website.
“[The USDA National Farmers Market Directory]” is a snapshot of what is happening in farmers markets, and demonstrates how the industry is growing and expanding,” wrote Rayne Pegg, the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) (the USDA agency that maintains the Directory) in a recent open letter to market managers. “[The Directory] illustrates where the markets are, how big they are, how often they operate and other valuable information for policy makers, researchers, advocates, government officials, media and consumers.”
The official results of the USDA 2010 National Farmers Market Directory will be released later this summer and include data about farmers markets that have registered with the Directory up until June 4. In addition to knowing where and when farmers markets are operating, the National Farmers Market Directory also lists what federal nutrition assistance nutrition programs (like SNAP, WIC, SFMNP) are accepted at which farmers markets. This is a critical way to map how farmers markets are making fresh, healthy, local food more accessible to more Americans.