USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan (center, white jacket) buys produce during a July trip to visit the Baltimore farmers market in Maryland. The mid-Atlantic region saw double-digit growth in its listings in the National Farmers Market Directory. Maryland added 76 new market listings alone. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
We’ve known for some time that local food is a vibrant and growing sector in agriculture. Consumers are seeking out food produced in their region, and this local food – whether it’s purchased at a farmers market, in a grocery store, at a restaurant or elsewhere – is now a multi-billion dollar industry. This week, we received further evidence of the strength of consumer demand for local foods. The National Farmers Market Directory, compiled by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), has just been updated and shows a nearly 10 percent increase in listings over last year. Read more »
Elmer Moje sells German Stiffneck garlic at his stand in the Tonawanda, New York farmers market. For decades, Moje has been bringing his crops to the same market. Photo by Sharif Hamdy
It was 1918 when Elmer Moje first took crops to market with his father on a horse and wagon in North Tonawanda, New York. Moje, who turns 99 later this month, still takes his crops to the market once or twice a week.
“I don’t have the wagon or the horse anymore,” he says with a laugh. “Back then it was all done by hand. My father never owned a tractor, he only had horses. Now everything is done by tractor.” Read more »
Must have a desire to help farmers reach new markets and to help businesses bring healthier options to local communities. Experience & qualifications should include some knowledge of local and direct marketing methods. Must be willing to devote 50-60 hours during the month of July to help score project proposals. See below for more detail.
The Farmers Market Promotion Program is a competitive grant process designed to help expand opportunities for farmers and bring healthy foods into more communities. The grants are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and aim to help farmers throughout the country. About $10 million is available this year to support direct-marketing projects like farmers markets, community supported agriculture, roadside stands and agritourism. Read more »
Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.
Promoting access to fresh and nutritious foods for the millions of Americans who participate in nutrition assistance programs is a top priority for USDA. We’re happy to announce that we’re emphasizing our commitment to promoting healthy food choices by giving more SNAP participants the ability to spend their benefits at farmers’ markets. Starting this month, we are making $4 million dollars in funds available to equip farmers’ markets with wireless point-of-sale equipment. Read more »
A young boy looks over the fresh fruits and veggies with his mother at a farmers market in Mississippi. By listing their market in the National Farmers Market Directory, market managers open their market up new customers. Photo courtesy Natalie Maynor
Spring is in the air and it’s time to gear up for the outdoor market season. People are looking for fresh fruits, veggies and other goodies from their local farmers markets, and with a couple clicks of the mouse, the USDA National Farmers Market Directory makes the search easy. Read more »
Apples sold at a winter farmers market in Somerville, Mass. Farmers markets are an important source of fresh local foods and can also be key to the economic success of farms and businesses within their communities.
As I’ve traveled the country, I’ve talked with more and more consumers who want a personal relationship with their food and are demanding to know more about it, where it came from and how it got to their plate. I’ve also talked with more and more producers who see the growing market demand for local food as a ripe business opportunity. One of USDA’s goals is to connect the two. Read more »