Tis the Season!
By: Jen Cheek Posted On: May 1, 2015
This morning marked the opening of the 20th season of the USDA Farmers Market! Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was on site to cut the ribbon and address the crowd. He thanked his predecessor, Secretary Glickman, who helped start the market, and reflected on the changes to American’s food landscape. “20 Years later, farmers markets are now integral to providing opportunities for new farmers, small and medium sized business, and veterans.”
Secretary Vilsack identified strengthening local food systems, including farmers markets, as one of the four pillars of USDA’s commitment to rural economic development. The USDA Farmers Market welcomes customers using benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons, and DC Produce Plus checks. As part of the Administration’s commitment to ensuring all Americans have access to a healthy diet, USDA has authorized over 5,900 farmers markets or direct marketing farmers nationwide to accept SNAP. (See FMC’s Free SNAP Equipment Program page for more info.)
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator, Anne Alonzo, announced that the market was growing from 15 to 30 vendors, and adding a night market every third Friday of the month, which will feature entertainment in addition to fresh fruit and veggies. “The USDA Farmers Market fits perfectly with our mission of facilitating marketing, and it’s wonderful to see how the growth of the USDA Farmers Market is creating so many local economic opportunities and jobs,” said Administrator Alonzo. In addition to offering a variety of grants to support local food and markets, AMS maintains national directories of local food outlets. As markets all over the country open their ‘doors’ this weekend, it’s the perfect time to take a look to make sure that your market’s information in the USDA directory is up to date!
Photo courtesy of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service