Make Sure Your Farmers Market Gets on the Map
Posted On: May 17, 2012
An interview with Debra Tropp about USDA’s Farmers Market Directory
The USDA is once again updating its National Farmers Market Directory. Are you part of it? Make sure your market is listed on this wildly popular portal in time for peak shopping season. Update your information at www.usdadirectoryupdate.com by Monday, June 5, to be included along more than 7,000 markets around the country.
What are the advantages? FMC sat down with USDA’s Debbie Tropp, Branch Chief, Farmers Markets and Direct Marketing Research, to learn more.
FMC: Who uses this directory, anyway?
DT: Just about everyone uses the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, really. . . which is why the directory’s search engine page attracted more than two million page views from users last year alone. Consumers – including sophisticated “foodies,” beginning cooks, and household shoppers just looking for farm-fresh, healthy food choices – look to the directory for information about the location of markets in their community, the types of products they offer for sale, hours and months of operation, and the means of payment they accept (including Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program – SNAP, and other federal nutrition benefits.) Farmers interested in direct marketing opportunities also consult the directory to learn about potential new marketing outlets for their products. Developers of software applications use our directory’s geographic coordinates to help members of the public easily locate markets in their area using mobile technology. USDA is incorporating the directory database into its next round of GIS mapping applications on local and regional food systems as part of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass. And researchers, community planners, public health officials and other stakeholders use the information listed in the directory as an input for further analysis of business development, food distribution and food access issues about local markets, and more.
FMC: Why is it important to be listed in the directory?
DT: The information contained in the directory is increasingly considered the more reliable and comprehensive source of farmers market information in the United States. As such, it is frequently cited by researchers, community members and advocates as an indicator of the scope and size of the farmers market community, and may influence the ways in which decision makers view the relative importance of the farmers market sector. Being listed in the directory also ensures that your market will appear in the growing crop of new farmers market mobile applications being developed from the directory database. It allows your market to benefit from the popularity of an extremely visible national portal (attracting more than two million page views last year from users).
FMC: What do farmers markets need to do to get listed in the director?
DT: There are just a few easy steps to get listed and it only takes about 10 minutes. Those already in the directory will see their information pre-population so all they need to do is check it. Go to www.usdadirectoryupdate.com, complete the online form, and submit it by June 5. It’s that simple. If you have questions or need help, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-720-8317.
In a very timely post, FMC listserv subscriber Mike Moskos shared a brief list of websites with national farmers market search functions. Many of these commonly-used websites actually import their listings directly from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory as well as user-submitted data, further evidence of its broad reach and importance. This spring, it’s worth checking each of these sites to make sure your listing is as complete and up-to-date as possible… and if you find it’s already there without you ever having submitted anything, you can thank the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, and use this window of opportunity before June 5th to ensure your listing there is accurate!
Market Maker (18 states) http://national.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/
Eat Well Guide http://www.eatwellguide.org/
Real Time Farms http://www.realtimefarms.com/
Farmers Market http://farmersmarket.com/
Farmers Markets Online http://farmersmarketonline.com/
Find Farmers’ Markets http://www.findfarmersmarkets.com/
Local Harvest http://www.localharvest.org/
My Fresh Local http://www.myfreshlocal.com/