National Farmers Market Week 04 Aug 14

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared August 3 through 9, 2014, “National Farmers Market Week”. Throughout the week, USDA will celebrate our nation’s thousands of farmers markets, farmers who make them possible and the communities that host them.

The declaration was made via an official proclamation signed by Secretary Vilsack. This year marks the 15th Annual National Farmers Market Week recognizing the important role that farmers markets play in the agricultural and food economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began declaring National Farmers Market Week in 2000.

“National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity for farmers markets across the country to host special events to showcase all the tremendous services they provide,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support family farms, and help grow rural economies. They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms that support them and provide Americans across the country with fresh, healthy food.”

Thousands of farmers markets across the country offer consumers fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthful products sold directly from the farm. They also offer additional market opportunities for local producers, especially smaller or newer operations. Farmers markets increasingly offer electronic benefits transfer technology that can be used by recipients of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – as well as low-income women, infants, and children and seniors participating in the WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs – to get fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed August 3-9, 2014, as “Farmers Market Week” in Minnesota to celebrate the benefits of farmers markets and the agricultural products farmers provide.

The popularity of farmers markets has increased, in part, because of the interest in healthier foods and lifestyles and an increased understanding of the importance of maintaining small, sustainable farms. Local farmers are able to offer consumers a variety of products including heirloom vegetables, heritage breeds of livestock, and other specialty products.

Minnesota Grown spokesman Paul Hugunin says more than 175 farmers markets are found in the Minnesota Grown Directory.

“The directory makes it easy to find what locally grown foods are available at the farmers market in my neighborhood and at hundreds of locations throughout the state,” said Hugunin. “These markets not only offer farm-fresh, healthful products, they also provide an important opportunity for consumers and farmers to interact.”

Many farmers markets throughout the state are hosting special events during Farmers Market Week.  Contact your local farmers market to find out more or find farmers market locations at www.minnesotagrown.com.