For Immediate Release
Contact : Elizabeth Comiskey
August 10, 2012
Farmers Market Coalition Celebrates Civic Engagement & Volunteerism
During National Farmers Market Week
The richly celebrated benefits of farmers markets –local economic dollars, direct interaction with farmers, fresh food and decreased fuel consumption, just to name a few –would not be a reality without a support of thousands of volunteers. Unquestionably the vitality behind the nation’s burgeoning market growth, volunteers breathe life into new farmers market enterprises and keep day-to-day operations running smoothly.
United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack proclaimed August 5-11, 2012 as National Farmers
Market Week. Since 2000, the number off recorded farmers markets has grown more than 170%, from 2,863 markets in 2000 to more than 7,800 in 2012. Behind this growth is the support of dedicated volunteers who sustain and support their local markets.
The power of farmers markets to strengthen social fabric is attracting national attention, too. A recent PolicyLink report states that “…direct interaction between growers and customers facilitates the formation of personal relationships in a way that is not possible at third-party stores.” Studies also show that farmers market visitors have 10 times more conversation than those shopping at a grocery store.
A 2012 article from University of Michigan suggests that farmers markets anchor attendees to the community by acting as a “third space” for informal gathering and interaction. Markets cultivate new interactions between community members themselves, as well as between entrepreneurs, in an environment focused on renewal and revival.
“Farmers markets are successful thanks to active involvement of volunteers and partner organizations,” says Bernadine Prince, President of the Farmers Market Coalition, a national nonprofit dedicated to strengthening farmers markets. “During Farmers Market Week, FMC encourages everyone to say thank you to the market managers and volunteers that provide Americans a venue to deepen our relationships with farmers and neighbors, strengthening the social fabric of our communities.”
Seven Days, Seven Ways to Celebrate Farmers Market Impacts
Innovative partnerships that allow markets to serve as hubs of information
Promoting good nutrition and healthful habits
Business incubation, job development, and local spending
Governance and policies that put farmers first
Improving access to healthful foods in underserved neighborhoods
Growing social capital and engaging volunteers
Supporting agricultural diversity and farm viability, while inspiring a new generation of producers
The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to strengthening farmers markets for the benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities.
Learn more at FarmersMarketCoalition.org.