26 July 2015 - Support your Local Farmers Market

Every summer, at this time of the year, I urge you to attend and support your County Fair as well as your State Fair. This week I am urging you to visit and support your local Farmers Market.

I love Farmers Markets and I love the fact that their number has grown sharply across the country over a short period of time. Every year USDA publishes the National Farmers Market Directory. The 2014 edition listed more than 8,200 markets nationwide, that’s an increase of 76% since 2008.

August 2nd through 8th has been proclaimed National Farmers Market Week by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. This is the 16th year that USDA has paid tribute to Farmers Markets across the nation and in issuing the proclamation, Secretary Vilsack said - “National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity for Farmers Markets across the country to host special events to showcase all the tremendous services they provide. Farmers Markets play a key role in developing local and regional systems that support farmers and help grow rural economies. They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms and providing Americans with fresh, healthy foods.”

Farmers Markets also play a role in getting fresh nutritious foods to participants in government food aid programs such as SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program. Last year, they were able to redeem
their SNAP benefits at more than 6,400 of the 8,200 Farmers Markets and did so in the amount of $18.8-million.

On the 1st of August, the Administrator of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Anne Alonzo, will kick off the week at the Santa Fe Farmers Market in New Mexico, the oldest in the state, and ranked as one of the top ten Farmers Markets in the nation.

Besides getting fresh produce, I love Farmers Markets because city consumers, generations removed from the farm, have an opportunity to talk to and ask questions of the people who produce their food. They learn what farmers and their families do to put healthy nutritious foods on their dinner tables, and often are very surprised to hear about the challenges and the technology to meet those challenges that producers use in today’s modern agriculture.

I try to get to my Farmers Market in Huntley, Illinois every week, and again, I urge all of you to support your local Farmers Market.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.