National Farmers Market Week declared

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 7-13, as “National Farmers Market Week.” This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week to honor and celebrate the important role that farmers markets play in local economies, according to a recent press release by the Farm Service Agency.

“Throughout the week, USDA officials will celebrate at farmers market locations across the country. On Saturday, Elanor Starmer, the Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) — which conducts research, provides technical assistance and awards grants to support local and regional food systems — will kick off the week visiting a farmers market and wrap up the week at USDA’s own farmers market in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Aug. 12,” the release stated.

“Over the course of the Obama Administration, USDA has invested close to $1 billion in 40,000 local food businesses and infrastructure projects. Farmers markets provide consumers with fresh, affordable, convenient and healthy products from local producers. With support from USDA, more farmers markets offer customers the opportunity to make purchases with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program; and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs.”

Supporting farmers markets is a part of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) Initiative, which coordinates the department’s work to develop strong local and regional food systems. USDA is committed to helping farmers, ranchers and businesses access the growing market for local and regional foods, which was valued at $12 billion in 2014 according to industry estimates.