Letting Customers’ Fingers Do The Walking: On-line Farmers Market Directories

      Posted On: April 15, 2009

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 of these (free) services so customers around the corner and around the nation will know that you are ready for action this farmers market season.

The USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory has been listing thousands of farmers markets since 1994. Online, it provides search results by state, city zip code, and whether or not it participates in nutrition assistance programs, allowing customers to easily find a market in their community. Many state departments of agriculture and state farmers market associations send their market directories to USDA every spring, so it’s important to make sure your information is accurate and up to date with your state organizations. To make sure you are registered in the national directory, send your current market information as follows to Velma Lakins (Velma.Lakins@usda.gov) by May 1, 2009.

Market Name
Market Address/Intersection
Mailing Address (City, State, Zip)
Name of County
Months of Operation
Days of Operation
Hours of Operation
Covered Facility: Yes or No
Market Manager Name
Market Manager Contact Number
Market Manager E-mail Address
Market Website Address
Does the market accept EBT?
Does the market accept SFMNP Coupons?
Does the market accept WIC Coupons?
LocalHarvest.Org is maintained by a small California non-profit, and is considered the go-to listing of farmers markets, CSAs, direct-marketing small farms, and other local food purveyors
nationwide. It is a remarkable resource, and has even developed a local food application
for iPhone users which can help people find local food at any place and any time. Once registered, a market’s information (and list of available products) can be updated as needed. To register, go to www.localharvest.org/register.jsp
Another growing directory is at Culinate.com, a web site devoted to engaging writers, chefs, and others in discussions about food. The site features a wide variety of recipes for fresh produce, and last year launched a google-based market directory at www.culinate.com/mix, allowing users quick access to driving directions. To go one step further, a market can register it’s location in google maps at http://www.google.com/local/add/splashPage?gl=us&hl=en-US. This is a free service provided by google.

2009 has already proved to be a great year for local food and farmers markets. Between the recent data released from the latest Agricultural Census indicating that the amount of food sold directly to consumers rose to $1.2 billion in 2007 (from $812 million in 2002), and the number of farms selling directly also rose nearly 17% to over 116,000 nationwide. Taking advantage of the many free opportunities to reach potential customers through the world wide web is one way to make sure such trends continue.