The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proclaimed the first week of August as "National Farmers Market Week." According to the USDA, farmers markets:
- Provide a critical outlet for farmers to directly meet consumer demand for local, fresh, affordable and healthy food. Increasingly, farmers markets are opening in "food deserts" and accepting supplemental food assistance e-coupons — a win for farmers and all consumers.
- Play a role in sustaining family farms. Farmers selling at farmers markets obtain better prices for their products compared to mass distribution channels — while maintaining affordability for consumers. Farmers markets also keep money local. Keeping food local cuts down on "food miles" and fuel needed for shipping. Ever notice that many farmers don't package their foods? If you bring your own tote bag, you're participating in sustainability efforts too.
- Serve as a hub in the development of local and regional food systems. Heard of farm to table? Increasingly, local farmers are linking up with local restaurants, schools and health care facilities.
I'm going to celebrate National Farmers Market Week and will:
- Thank my local farmers. I may share the link to this blog. If you add your thanks in the comments, they'll see your appreciation too.
- Recognize them for educating me, my children and grandkids about where food comes from. Whenever we can, we make a family outing to the farmers market. I've learned from my grandkids' questions. They look and ask the vendors, "What's that?" and "How does it taste?" I ask, "How do I cook it?" When the grandkids ask for a food, we get it and we all eat it (without fuss).
- Marvel at the role farmers markets play in our communities. They get us out, get us together and connect us to the earth — improving our health in many ways.
How will you celebrate National Farmers Market Week?
July 23, 2015
- Secretary Vilsack Proclaims August 2-8 National Farmers Market Week. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2015/020315. Accessed July 21, 2015.
- Proclamation by Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America. National Farmers Market Week. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5111928. Accessed July 21, 2015.
- WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program-fmnp. Accessed July 17, 2015.
- Farmers Market Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5080175&acct=frmrdirmkt. Accessed July 17, 2015.
- Hornick J. Top reasons to shop at a farmers market. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/07/02/top-reasons-to-shop-at-a-farmers-market/. Accessed July 17, 2015.
- Farm to school. U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://www.fns.usda.gov/farmtoschool/farm-school. Accessed July 17, 2015.
- Changes in IRS requirements for hospitals may result in new support for farmers markets. Farmers Market Coalition. http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/changes-in-irs-requirements-for-hospitals-may-result-in-new-support-for-farmers-markets/. Accessed July 17, 2015.
- Huffman M. Three food trends turning the industry upside down. ConsumerAffairs.com. http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/three-food-trends-turning-the-industry-upside-down-021215.html. Accessed July 21, 2015.