Weeklong celebration ends August 12
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
The USDA is putting farmers and fresh, local food in the spotlight with National Farmers Market Week, which is on until Saturday.
2017 marks the 18th annual celebration.
As of 2013, there were 8,144 farmers markets across the U.S., according to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
American farmers markets contribute about $9 billion to the country’s economy, and the weeklong celebration is a small way to thank farmers for their hard work.
“I call upon the American people to celebrate farmers markets…,” reads a proclamation signed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.
A number of states are following Perdue’s lead and encouraging Americans to visit local farmers markets.
"Our farmers markets support local economies; offer fresh, healthy food sources for our families; and provide a way for farmers to directly engage with consumers,” Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas, said in a release yesterday. “We are proud to join a national week of highlighting the role agriculture and farmers markets play in strengthening our communities."
In Iowa, local farmers markets are also participating in the state’s Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt.
Elementary school students are encouraged to visit local vendors to find a total of 37 fruits and vegetables. Participants who complete the hunt will be eligible for a variety of prizes.
“Farmers markets are a great place to find healthy and delicious Iowa grown fruits, vegetables, meats and other products,” Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, said in an August 4 statement.
And in Louisiana, market-goers are reminded of the unique opportunities farmers markets can present.
“When you visit a farmers market, you often get to meet the person who is actually growing your food,” Mike Strain, Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, said in an August 3 release. “This is a reminder to support your local farmers and vendors at your area farmers market.”
The states with the most farmers’ markets are California (759), New York (637), Illinois (336), Michigan (331) and Ohio (300).