The number of farmers markets today is about twice what it was just ten years ago. Daniel Lee looks into how farmers markets have doubled in numbers across the U.S. over the past decade and why they are becoming more and more popular.
Farmers markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grows the produce.
“Farmers markets and community gardens are growing rapidly across the country, cultivating social and economic benefits for rural and urban communities alike. They increase access to fresh, healthy foods for people of all income levels and create new market opportunities for local farmers,” said Vilsack at the recent opening of the USDA Farmers Market for its 21st season in Washington, D.C.
Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. As of National Farmers Market Week, (the first full week in August), there were 8,476 farmers markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. This is a 2.5 percent increase from 2014.
AMS also oversees USDA’s Local Food Directories where consumers can find a farmers market and other local food businesses in their community. These free, online resources offer the latest information on locations, operating hours and more details about farmers markets, food hubs, community-supported agriculture (CSA) operations and on-farm markets.
Why shop at a farmers market? Watch this video to learn about the benefits of buying fresh, nutritious, delicious and locally grown foods. Hear a Nutrition.gov registered dietitian talk with shoppers and farmers. Then go visit your local farmers market for the freshest food in season!