Reflecting on National Farmers Market Week 2020
By: Hannah Fuller Posted On: August 26, 2020
The 21st annual celebration of National Farmers Market Week took place August 2nd through 8th. Seeing the engagement of market operators and dedicated supporters throughout social media during the week made it clear from the start that this NFMW was a great success despite the historic challenges faced by farmers market operators nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After crunching the numbers around the campaign’s reach, posts, and media coverage, the FMC team was able to conclude that the data backs up that feeling! Public engagement around NFMW messaging and activities was on par (and in some cases exceeded!) the success of the last few years.
Thank you to all the market operators, food systems organizations, and farmers market supporters for your commitment and participation! We can’t offer enough thanks to our sponsors and partners at USDA, Square, American Farmland Trust, and Farm Aid that helped make this National Farmers Market Week happen.
National Farmers Market Week serves as a time to highlight the driving points of why farmers markets matter on a national, state and local level. Annually this week encourages attendance, shares educational information on the impact of markets, and celebrates the people that make them possible.
This year, as farmers markets struggled due to the coronavirus pandemic, National Farmers Market Week played an important role in communicating the essential role that farmers markets play in our local food systems. Farmers markets need to be protected by policies that allow them to continue to operate and serve their local farmers, producers, small businesses, and community members.
Farmers market operators — the individuals and organization that make markets possible — are local food heroes in their communities and continue to work tirelessly to keep their communities safe. Many markets have implemented new policies around wearing masks, spreading out vendors, and moving traffic through the market. Others have implemented box programs or drive-thru pick up to make contactless market shopping possible.
Market operators across the country ran with our NFMW resources, messaging, and materials, hosting online and in-person events and garnering media attention for their markets. Whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, market communications or through the media, at-market or around the community, creative and enthusiastic participation was everywhere:
- Market operators have spent the past 6 months tirelessly working to make their markets as safe as possible. During this historic time, farmers market operators shared new market layout plans, health and safety policies, hand-washing stations. and even drive-through pick-up operations to keep market-goers, vendors and operators safe. Larimer County Farmers Market in Larimer, Colorado had a mask contest to add some fun to wearing masks and keeping their community as safe as possible. Their winner? A patron with a matching mask for their stuffed chicken.
- Markets around the country used National Farmers Market Week to showcase their commitment to food access for everyone in their community. Many markets increased SNAP-match programs during NFMW sometimes doubling or tripling the benefits for shoppers paying with SNAP, WIC or other payment programs. At the beginning of National Farmers Market Week, the Florida Fresh Access Bucks announced unlimited SNAP Match for the rest of 2020 for all participating markets.
- Other markets used the week as a time to get creative with social media and share more about their vendors. Holland Farmers Market in Holland, Michigan featured vendors from the market all week, showcasing the commitment of vendors and their hard work keeping food following into their community.
- State farmers market associations also played an important role in campaigning for their state’s markets. Oregon Farmers Market Association created a wide range of their own graphics to make a state specific toolkit and hosted a vibrant recipe and photo contest!
- Wildhorse Farmers Market in Mustang, Oklahoma included everyone in their celebration! Market organizers printed a large banner to celebrate National Farmers Market Week and community members were able to add their names and messages of appreciation. We loved seeing creative ways to celebrate while still staying safe!
- We also love this video from the Minnesota Farmers Market Association:
And over 100 market operators shared their creative celebrations and feedback about the week with us with us! If you haven’t shared yours yet, you still can by filling out this form!
National Farmers Market Week By the Numbers
The USDA Proclamation declares National Farmers Market Week and inspires many other local governments to proclaim Farmers Market Week. FMC’s Local Proclamation Template was utilized by market operators and organizations to encourage their elected officials to declare farmers market celebrations on the state and local levels. This advocacy work and relationship development is exceptionally important this year in emphasizing the value of farmers markets to decisionmakers as farmers markets are in need of legislative support through the pandemic crisis.
States that declared 2020 Farmers Market Week included:
Cities, towns, countries, and municipalities declared Farmers Market Week on a smaller scale too! Some locally declared Farmers Market Week Proclamations included:
- U.S. Territory of Guam
- City of Killeen, Texas
- City of Norcross, Georgia
- City of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
- City of Henderson, Nevada
Did your city, state, or county issue a Farmers Market Week Proclamation? Let us know!
FMC Farmers Market Resources
One of FMC’s main activities for National Farmers Market Week is to create and provide downloadable tools, templates, graphics, and language for farmers markets to use in their planning and celebration of the week locally. Our goal is to make it easy for markets to promote, celebrate, and activate their communities.
Nearly 5,000 downloads of NFMW-specific resources across all categories and the 2020 NFMW Social Media Toolkit was downloaded 1,514 times alone. We saw markets implementing FMC graphics all over social media to make their engagement smooth and easy!
“I loved the helpful social media tips. I am new to the world of Facebook business and it was so useful for drawing attention to our page. Thank you!”
“The marketing/advocacy tools were awesome. I look forward to the focus being less on Covid-19, but there was no ignoring it this year!”
“Ya’ll do a great job! Thank you for sharing your resources to make it easy to promote this national week.”
Hashtag Reach on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:
#FarmersMarketWeek: 3005 mentions, with approximately 7.3 million impressions!
#FarmersMarketsAreEssential: 1,791 mentions, with approximately 5.5 million impressions and growing! This tag has continued to gain popularity amongst farmers market operators and supporters as markets stay resilient throughout the pandemic.
The estimated social media reach of National Farmers Market Week related content was more than 16 million, with 7,257 mentions of our hashtags or the phrase “National Farmers Market Week.”
We want to extend huge THANK YOU to everyone for participating in NFMW. The more engagement and reach around the messaging, the more we are able to share the benefits of farmers markets with potential visitors and decision-makers with the power to strengthen markets in every community. The campaign highlights the reasons farmers markets are important to their communities with local, state, and federal officials to influence their continued and future support.
While the official week has passed, that doesn’t mean celebrating local food, farmers, and resiliency is over. In the spirit of National Farmers Market Week, make a commitment to shop at your farmers market each week and support farmers throughout the season. Continue to share the messaging of farmers markets as essential businesses and share the vital work that market operators are accomplishing for your communities. Farmers markets are an essential part of a resilient local food system and your support allows them to thrive.
If you did something exciting for NFMW or have some thoughts you’d like to share, we want to know! Be sure to fill out our feedback survey.
We can’t wait to celebrate again next year and make National Farmers Market Week 2021 another great celebration of the importance of farmers markets. National Farmers Market Week 2021 will be August 1st -7th, mark your calendars!