(Left to right) Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, USDA AMS Deputy Administrator Arthur Neal, Agricultural Market Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo, USDA Farmers Market Coordinator Annie Ceccarini, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Under Secretary Ed Avalos cut the ribbon opening at the USDA’s 2015 Farmers Market in the east parking lot of USDA in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 1, 2015. USDA photo by Tom Witham.
This morning, Secretary Tom Vilsack and I kicked off the 20th season of the USDA Farmers Market. It was quite a celebration, complete with balloons, ribbon cutting and bell ringing! The market underwent a major redesign and expansion this year to make room for twice as many vendors as we’ve had in the past. Featuring everything from fresh oysters to delicious pastries to crisp lettuce, today’s market is full of delicious offerings from local farmers, ranchers and food businesses.
I am so proud that my agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service, has managed this market for the past 20 years, turning it into a true gathering place for USDA and its neighbors, including Washington, D.C.-area employees, residents in Ward 2 and visitors to the National Mall. The USDA Farmers Market also provides a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs. Read more »
What does it take to create a successful farmers market?
Just like a potluck, everyone should bring something to the table. A market manager is needed to help coordinate the market place. A selection of vendors offering a variety of regional products is necessary. Also a strong customer base interested in local fresh products is essential to its prosperity.
But that’s not all. Read more »
by Wayne Bogovich, The Peoples Garden Apiary Beekeeper
Folks in the area are welcoming USDA’s newest residents, bees! The People’s Garden at USDA headquarters added a beehive in The People’s Garden Apiary which is located on the roof of USDA’s Whitten Building along the National Mall in Washington, DC.
USDA’s newest residents, six pounds (approximately 20,000) of bees and a queen were placed in their new home on April 21, 2010. These bees are facilitating pollination of The People’s Garden as well as the surrounding areas. If you’ve been to the National Mall, you probably recall that there are a lot of gardens at the various Smithsonian museums. And if you haven’t been to the National Mall, you should plan a visit.
The hive’s location was chosen so the eastern exposure of sunlight would get the bees moving in the morning. Directly to the west of the hive is a utility room which provides protection from the prevailing winds and bad weather along with afternoon shade to avoid the late day heat.
We check the hive every 10 days and our volunteers supply fresh water every other day. We do this in addition to checking for fresh eggs as well as any visual parasite or disease issue in order to ensure the health of the colony. We also monitor honey production and we add honey supers as needed. And to facilitate the non-chemical control of mites, we use a ventilated bottom board and remove the drone brood.
Because each of us depends on pollinators in a practical way to provide us with the wide range of foods we eat, we are doing our best in making sure our newest residents have what they need!
Wayne Bogovich, The Peoples Garden Apiary Beekeeper