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The large percentage of young markets explains in part why the growth in the number of farmers markets is not
mirrored by a corresponding growth in sales. Total farmers market sales in 2005 are estimated to have slightly
exceeded $1 billion, compared with $888 million in 2000, an average annual growth rate of 2.5 percent. To
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today opened the 14th season of the USDA Farmers Market season with a ceremony at USDA Headquarters. The USDA Farmers Market features farmers from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia selling their locally grown produce and other items. The market is open to the public and will operate every Friday through October, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at USDA Headquarters on 12th St. and Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C.
What is a farmers market? A farmers market is a public and recurring assembly of farmers or their representatives selling the food that they produced directly to consumers. Farmers markets facilitate personal connections and bonds of mutual benefits between farmers, shoppers, and communities. By cutting out middlemen, farmers receive more our food dollars and shoppers receive the freshest…
PLEASE NOTE: This year, in an effort make sure that federal funds were having the intended effect of promoting specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc.), the Specialty Crop Block Grant program funds can be used “solely” to promote specialty crops, which USDA defines here. FMC fully supports state department of agriculture use of SCBG funds for farmers markets… but please be aware that, moreso than in past years, these federal funds can only be used for programs which promote defined specialty crops, not just farmers markets generally.
After sending a small delegation to meet with the house staffers drafting the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) issued an op-ed on food safety which lays out their priorities for protecting food safety while not presenting undue burden on small-scale sustainable farms and those who direct market.
Food safety is a serious topic. Farmers market supporters who want to ensure that food safety policy does not endanger the livelihoods of small direct-marketing farmers, and that regulatory changes are scale-sensitive and focus on the areas of highest risk (large, wholesaling production and processing operations), are encouraged to:
* Watch the opening of the Food Safety Working Group Listening Session at WhiteHouse.gov/live, kicked off by Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Vilsack, the co-chairs of the Working Group.
* Make comments in the White House’s comment form, or let the Working Group know on twitter (hashtag #WHsafefood) or at the white House’s Facebook page.
Think of them as national online yellow pages for local food and farmers markets. The USDA National Directory of Farmers Markets and LocalHarvest.Org are the two biggest national directories of farmers markets and direct sales small farms. Now is the time to make sure your market information is listed and up to date on both…
As part of its goal to support the efforts of state farmers market organizations, FMC recently offered small sponsorships to three of its members holding statewide training events. Pending future available funding, FMC plans to continue and expand its support of such educational trainings in 2009. What follows is a brief summary of the events receiving mini-grants so far this year.
By Wendy Wasserman Spinach. Peanuts. Tomatoes. Lettuce. Pistachios. In the past few years, there has been mounting consumer and producer discussion about food borne illness. Some of the high profile cases of wide-spread food borne illness have been traced back to incomplete food safety protocols occurring at large producers and commodity processors. Regardless of the…
WASHINGTON, April 2, 2009 –– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) invites individuals to share their expertise in reviewing project proposals for the 2009 Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) grant program. The FMPP program began in 2006, with the goal of expanding direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities in the United States through the…