Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Proclaims August 2-8 National Farmers Market Week
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today encouraged consumers to visit their local farmers markets in honor of National Farmers Market Week, which will take place from August 2-8.
"One of the Obama Administration's top priorities is to make sure that all Americans – especially children – have access to fresh, nutritious food, and USDA's ongoing support of farmers markets is important to reaching that goal," Secretary Vilsack said. "At the same time, farmers markets help support small family farms, help revitalize rural communities, and often promote sustainable agricultural practices."
Currently, nearly 4,900 farmers markets operate nationwide, up from 4,685 in 2008. To make it easier for consumers to locate farmers markets in their states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service posts The National Directory of Farmers Markets online atwww.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets.
USDA is a leader in government efforts to encourage healthier eating, has operated a farmers market at its Washington, D.C., headquarters since 1996. Open to the general public every Friday, June through October, as many as 14 farmer-vendors set up stands that feature their locally produced items.
USDA supports farmers markets through several programs in addition to National Farmers Market Week. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) awards grants, provides technical assistance, and helps with marketing and promotion. Meanwhile, the Food and Nutrition Service also supports farmers markets through the Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program by providing coupons that many low-income Americans can exchange for eligible foods at farmers markets and similar outlets.