The U.S. Department of Agriculture is kicking off the 2021 National Farmers Market Week starting Aug. 1. The celebration, which is entering its 22nd year, will last until Aug. 7 and use the hashtag #FarmersMarketWeek.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a proclamation this week in honor of National Farmers Market Week. In it, Vilsack said, “Farmers markets serve as significant outlets for small-to-medium, new and beginning, socially disadvantaged, 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…and farmers markets play a critical role in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better Initiative by connecting producers and consumers to strengthen nutritional security, and contributing to a fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient food system.”
Farmers markets can be a vital way to connect the public with our nation’s farmers and ranchers.
According to a 2019 National Farmers Market Managers survey, there are more than 8,000 farmers markets across the country, and the farm-level benefits for farm vendors, include:
- 67 percent increased overall production
- 33 percent increased the number of workers employed on the farm
- Nearly 40 percent were able to sell imperfect products that would otherwise go unsold
- 77 percent diversified the types of agricultural products they grew
Further supporting the need for farmers markets, Christina Conell, Deputy Director in the Marketing Services Division at the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Transportation and Marketing Program, noted in a USDA blog post all of the resources available to support farmers markets, including grants, data, technical assistance and promotion through the AMS’ free, online farmers market directory and other local and regional food directories.