National Farmere's Market weekNational Farmers Market Week is scheduled for August 4-10. Farmers markets are the cornerstones of every community and there’s no better time to show this than during National Farmers Market Week.
“Farmers markets are an important public face for agriculture and a critical part of our nation’s food system,” says Vilsack. “They provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also help fill a growing consumer demand for fresh, healthy foods.”
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo spoke in D.C. on Saturday, saying, “Due to consumer demand for local food we are seeing an increase in the diversity of market offerings and more participation from small businesses and farms. This year we are focusing on the sustainability and maturity of farmers markets — keeping new and old markets thriving and improving.”

According to a news release, local food and direct marketing opportunities, including farmers markets, are one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture.

According to the latest Census of Agriculture, direct sales of food products from farmers to individual consumers rose by nearly 50 percent between 2002 and 2007. Last year, local food sales grew to nearly $7 billion, according to industry estimates.

The proclamation from Secretary Thomas Vilsack…

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Office of the Secretary Washington, D.C. 20250
By the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America
WHEREAS farmers markets are important outlets for agricultural producers nationwide, providing them with increased marketing opportunities; and
WHEREAS thousands of farmers markets across the country offer consumers fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthful products sold directly from the farm; and
WHEREAS farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support the sustainability of family farms, revitalize communities, and provide opportunities for farmers and consumers to interact; and
WHEREAS farmers markets increasingly offer electronic benefits transfer technology for use by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients in redeeming their benefits and also offer opportunities for low-income women, infants, and children and seniors participating in the WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs, respectively, to redeem their benefits;
NOW, THEREFORE, to further awareness of farmers markets and of the many important contributions farmers make to daily life in America, I, Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, do hereby proclaim the week of August 4-10, 2013, as National Farmers Market Week. I encourage the people of the United States to celebrate the benefits of farmers markets and the bountiful production of our Nation’s farmers with appropriate observances and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this 3rd day of July 2013, the two-hundred thirty-seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America.

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