For nearly 15 years, the Jeffersontown, KY, Farmers Market struggled. Dwindling to only four vendors selling to a handful of customers, the market was barely surviving from year to year. In 2009, the City of Jeffersontown found a recipe for success by combining the town’s enthusiasm and energy with support from USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to reinvigorate and reinvent the farmers market.
FMPP is a competitive grant program administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The program provides funds to help establish, expand, and promote farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, and other direct-to-consumer marketing opportunities. FMPP has funded 443 diverse projects across the country since 2006. Read more »
Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.
Why shop at a Farmers Market?
Access to fresh, locally grown foods, for starters. That may be one of the best reasons, but there are many more. Farmers markets have fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. This means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is typically grown near where you live, not thousands of miles away or another country. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood.
Nutrition.gov recently filmed a video to promote the benefits of shopping at farmers markets, featuring a registered dietitian as she talks with farmers and customers at the market. And here’s a sneak peek at our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets with links to resources to help you find local markets and get the most out of your market experience: Read more »
On Monday I accepted the challenge for USDA to donate more than 1.8 million pounds of food this summer through the 4th annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive (FFF). Game on!
If each USDA employee donates just two pounds of food per week, we will contribute more than 2 million pounds and help our hardworking neighbors put food on the table during these tough economic times. FFF began four years ago to help fill a gap during the summer months, when food banks and pantries struggle with an increase in demand from families and individuals, but a decrease in donations. Each year of the food drive, USDA employees have stepped up to the plate: in 2011, USDA employees organized over 2,000 food drives across the country and collected 1.79 million pounds of fresh and shelf-stable food.
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Some of the most passionate advocates for USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service are our partners across the country. I realized that when I sat down yesterday with our hunger fighting partners in rural Greeley, Colorado. The town sits in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Weld County, among some of the richest, most productive farmland in the west. It’s a massive 4,000 square mile county where cattle, grain and sugar beets are king.
Yet in the midst of the beauty and bounty, I was struck by the fact that 25,000 people here are in need. So United Way of Weld County brought together more than two dozen local agencies that all have a common goal: to strengthen their community by reducing hunger and promoting health. Read more »
Faith in Place recently secured a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to operate winter farmers markets.
For 18 years, Tony Ends of Scotch Hill Farm worked hard to develop direct marketing opportunities for his family’s crops and products. For over six of those years, he advocated for other small farms in winter markets that he organized with Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa churches. Trends in farming and the recent recession, which spurred a decline in attendance at some markets, have taken a negative toll on some farm families in the upper Midwest, but Tony hasn’t lost faith. Read more »
Connecticut’s AGvocate Program promotes local farmers by inviting the public to area events and demonstrations. One event allowed residents to ride a wagon through a dairy barn to learn how milk is produced and how they can support local dairy farmers.
Windham County Farm Service Agency in Connecticut has taken an innovative approach to connect consumers with their local farmer.
Through the state’s AGvocate program — a program designed to make farming viable in Connecticut towns — the agency received funding to promote agriculture by creating committees and commissions to help residents understand the importance of supporting local farmers. Read more »