August 2 to 8 is officially the USDA’s 16th annual National Farmers Market Week and there’s a lot to celebrate! By the end of 2014, the US had more than 8,200 farmers markets across the country, up over 50% from just 5 years prior. The Farmers Market Coalition, a non-profit that helps to build networks and provide tools and resources for farmers markets, is providing markets and consumers with tools to help promote this special week, including the below infographic highlighting some of the benefits and successes of markets.
“Farmers’ markets…hold potential to build and rebuild local and regional food systems…”
– Remaking the North American Food System
Reasons to Support Farmers Markets:
- Preserve America’s Rural Livelihoods and Farmland – Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for beginning farmers, allowing them to start small, test the market, and grow their businesses
- Stimulate Local Economies – Growers selling locally create 13 full time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those that do not sell locally create 3
- Increase Access to Fresh, Nutritious Food – Several studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets. Due to this and other factors, 52% more SNAP households shop at farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers today than in 2011
- Support Healthy Communities – Farmers market vendors educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food
- Promote Sustainability – Three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards
One of our favorite food news resources, Civil Eats, also reports on 5 Ways Farmers Markets Have Evolved, including new technology, more education and community building initiatives.
Farmers Markets across the country are celebrating National Farmers Market Week a number of different ways, from cooking classes and demos, photo contests, market tours and brunch events. Join in the festivities and find a market near you to visit and support. Be sure to thank your farmers, ask them questions and use them as the amazing resources they are.
On Instagram and Twitter use the hashtags #nationalfarmersmarketweek #FarmMktWk and #MoreToMarket to see some fun photos and get more info on the National Farmers Market Week!