The U.S. Department of Agriculture is celebrating the 22nd annual National Farmers Market Week, August. 1-7, 2021. In a proclamation, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that “…farmers markets serve as significant outlets for small-to-medium, new and beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran agricultural producers to market agricultural products, in turn generating revenue that supports the sustainability of family farms and the revitalization of rural communities nationwide…and farmers markets play a critical role in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better Initiative by connecting producers and consumers to strengthen nutritional security, and contributing to a fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient food system.”
In a USDA blog, Betsy Rakola, associate deputy administrator in the Transportation and Marketing Program at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, discussed findings from the 2019 National Farmers Market Managers survey. According to the survey, there are more than 8,000 farmers markets across the country, and the farm-level benefits for farm vendors, include:
•67 percent increased overall production
•33 percent increased the number of workers employed on the farm
•Nearly 40 percent were able to sell imperfect products that would otherwise go unsold
•77 percent diversified the types of agricultural products they grew
In a second USDA blog, Christina Conell, deputy director in the Marketing Services Division at the AMS Transportation and Marketing Program, outlined the AMS resources available to support farmers markets, including grants, data, technical assistance and promotion through its free, online farmers market directory and other local and regional food directories.