WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has officially proclaimed August 2-8. 2020 to be National Farmers Market Week. This is the twenty-first year the USDA has supported local producers by encouraging families to shop at farmers markets and purchase direct from the farmers and other vendors at their local farmers market.
The proclamation signed by Perdue notes farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute approximately $9 billion each year to the U.S. economy and “serve as significant outlets for small-to-medium, new and beginning, and veteran agricultural producers to market agricultural products, in turn generating revenue that supports the sustainability of family farms and the revitalization of rural communities nationwide.”
Throughout the week, U.S. farmers markets, customers, and local food organizations have been celebrating National Farmers Market Week through social media campaigns, special promotions, and at-market activities. Coordinated by the Farmers Market Coalition, the messaging of this year’s celebration is focused on the work that farmers market operators have done to keep farmers markets open as an outlet for local producers, and to keep locally produced products safely available for consumers during the pandemic.
“Even in a global pandemic farmers market operators have worked tirelessly to innovate and come up with solutions to continue to serve their communities. While farmers markets are among the safest places to buy food, the increased costs and time required to stay operational are major challenges for all markets nationwide. It is more important than ever to support our local farmers markets during this crisis,” said Ben Feldman, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition.
Despite the challenges, market operators around the nation have found creative ways to celebrate the annual event while promoting public safety. Larimer County Farmers Market in Larimer County, Colorado held a mask fashion contest where market goers competed for most fun masks while the Dallas Farmers Market in Dallas, Texas displayed a string of thank you notes from market-goers to farmers.
A handful of state departments of agriculture have also joined in the appreciation of farmers markets. Maryland, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Washington, and Arkansas have all declared state-wide proclamations of Farmers Market Week as well.
In addition to being beneficial for the farmers and convenient for consumers, farmers markets are a gathering place that help build a sense of community.
–Farmers Market Coalition
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