America's Favorite Farmers Markets Contest Announced by AFT
Posted On: May 20, 2009
American Farmland Trust Kicks Off “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” Contest
Washington, D.C. —American Farmland Trust has just announced its first-ever “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets” contest. The contest is a nation-wide challenge to see which of America’s farmers markets can acquire the most constituent votes over the course of this summer. The goal is to improve the connection between citizens and their local farms and food and to raise national awareness about the value of farmers markets in our communities.
“Farmers markets are one of the best ways for consumers to support local farms and farmers,” says Julia Freedgood, Managing Director for American Farmland Trust’s Growing Local Initiative. “A great way to find seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, farmers markets also support public health and economic development opportunities in our communities,” she adds. The 2007 U.S. Agricultural Census reports a 49% growth in sales from farms directly to consumers since 2002—representing $1.2 billon that stayed in local communities. But at the same time, more than one million acres of farmland are developed each year – most around cities where there is greatest demand for local food. “We need to make the connection: there’s no local food without local farms and farmland,” says Freedgood.
Many barriers stand in the way of scaling up local farm production to meet the burgeoning demand for local food. American Farmland Trust is working to support policies and programs to protect farmland, reduce barriers between farmers and consumers and encourage communities to plan for agriculture and regional food systems. “This contest is a way for consumers to show the pride they take in their local farmers’ market and by extension the local farmers and communities that support them,” says Freedgood.
By linking farmers markets and their surrounding community, American Farmland Trust hopes to lower the barriers between farmers and consumers and encourage communities to consider the importance of their local farmland in providing a healthy agricultural system nationwide, and help keep farms economically viable.
Farmers market managers can register to join the contest by visiting www.farmland.org/marketmanager
Market shoppers will vote in support of their region’s farmers, community, and market at www.farmland.org/vote
At the end of the contest, one large, medium, and small farmers market will win the title of “America’s Favorite Farmers Market” for 2009. The reward will be a shipment of No Farms No Food® tote bags for the winning market managers to distribute to the shoppers that made it happen.
Find out more about American Farmland Trust’s Growing Local Campaign at www.farmland.org/local.