WASHINGTON — American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition join together to kick off the 13th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration. The co-branded summer-long event is the preeminent ranking of the nation’s favorite farmers markets.
Running from June 21 to September 19, 2021, America’s Farmers Market Celebration showcases the essential markets across the nation making a difference for farmers, ranchers and communities. During this time, market shoppers and supporters can vote for their favorite market by visiting markets.farmland.org. In addition to recognizing the top markets in each region of America, AFT and FMC will offer cash prizes for the markets that finish in the top three of the “People’s Choice” category— $2,500 for first, $1,500 for second and $1,000 for third. These funds will be awarded to markets for marketing, communications and other needs that help expand the market’s reach and impact.
Since 2008, the celebration has highlighted the important role farmers markets play in communities across the nation. As we head into the second summer of the coronavirus pandemic, the role of farmers markets as both a vital venue for farmers to sell their goods and consumers to access local, healthy food is being recognized like never before. If the last year has taught us anything, it is that farmers markets are not a luxury to communities. They are essential businesses that provide a vital service and should be celebrated.
Farmers markets are on the leading edge of educating consumers about where food comes from and reinforcing AFT’s message of No Farms No Food®. They foster direct relationships between community members and farmers helping to create a more fair, sustainable and just food system. Participating in the celebration is a way for people to come together and support their community and local food producers. After all, as eaters, the most important tool we have at our disposal to keep farmers and ranchers in business is our fork.
“This year, American Farmland Trust is proud to welcome the Farmers Market Coalition as a new partner and co-sponsor of the celebration,” said Greg Plotkin, AFT Deputy Director of Digital Communication. “The coalition is the leading national non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening farmers markets across the United States and will bring even more visibility to the celebration. AFT and FMC agree that strengthening farmers markets and supporting farmers is critical for the nation and the world and will require productive land, sound stewardship of our natural resources, and innovative future farmers and ranchers to meet the challenges.”
“Farmers markets foster direct relationships between community members and farmers which can work to create a more fair, sustainable and just food system,” said Ben Feldman, FMC Executive Director. “By partnering with AFT on America’s Farmers Market Celebration, we’re hoping to raise awareness of the incredible farmers markets across the nation that provide a space for communities to come together around shared values and work together for collective action for change.”
Rachael Durham, Event Planning Specialist, Clarksville Tennessee Parks and Recreation, shares the perspective of a market participant and the 2020 Celebration’s Number 1 market in America.
“In 2019, Clarksville, Tennessee was named the Best Place to Live by Money Magazine. Now, after being named the #1 Market in America by American Farmland Trust, the #1 Place to Live is home to the #1 Market in America. The publicity and recognition of this award has motivated our farm vendors to provide the best products and services to the thousands of patrons that attend our weekly Downtown Market each Saturday. Several of our Downtown Market vendors reported having personal record-breaking sales this season. Our Opening Day at the Clarksville Downtown Market drew an estimated crowd of more than 4,000 people, which is a reflection of the community atmosphere that defines Clarksville, Tennessee. The City of Clarksville is growing and we are excited to have the #1 Market in America grow with it!”
In addition to co-hosting America’s Farmers Market Celebration, AFT and FMC will also work together to:
- Promote National Farmers Market Week (August 1-7, 2021);
- Produce and distribute resources, webinars and other training materials on markets.farmland.org for farmers market managers, shoppers and producers; and
- Develop systems to collect, aggregate and analyze data related to farmers markets, producers that sell at farmers markets and farmers market shoppers.
— Lori Sallet, American Farmland Trust