(left to right top) Mike Hurwitz, Director of the Greenmarkets Programs, GrowNYC; Anthony Jordan, Community Liaison for Congressman Serrano; Joel Berg, Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger; Kim Kessler, Food Policy Coordinator, NYC Mayor’s Office; Cathy Nonas, Senior Advisor, DOHMH. (left to right bottom) Alyson Abrami, Manager Farmers’ Market Program, DOHMH; Culinary Nutritionists, Stellar Farmers’ Market Program; Audrey Rowe, Administrator for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service; Linda La Violette, Director of Farmers’ Markets, Empire State Development
During a recent visit to the “Big Apple”, Audrey Rowe, Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) visited Poe Park Greenmarket in the Bronx, a borough of New York City. She entered to find farmers showing off their fresh, locally-grown produce, herbs and specialty products, which community members regularly use their SNAP and WIC benefits to buy. Read more »
Pennsylvania is among the country’s top ten states represented in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. I recently completed a trip through the Fruit Belt to the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia to see how USDA’s support of farmers market development is impacting communities and helping farmers across the Keystone State.
My first stop was Camp Hill, a small town outside Harrisburg, to visit a new farmers market developed with the assistance of community organizations including Capital Resource and Conservation & Development Area Council (Capital RC&D). Capital RC&D received a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant to help farmers markets improve their consumer outreach and receive EBT and debit payments to expand micro-business opportunities for the area’s local farmers. The market, which just opened in May, is off to a great start with over a dozen vendors selling local bread, meat, dairy and produce from Pennsylvania’s fruit belt. Read more »
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 »