U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed Aug. 6-13 National Farmers Market Week. This is the 18th year the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has supported local producers by encouraging families to meet, and buy from, growers and other vendors at local farmers markets.
The proclamation Perdue signed notes farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute approximately $9 billion each year to the U.S. economy and “serve as significant outlets by which small-to-medium, new and beginning and veteran agricultural producers market agricultural products, generating revenue that supports the sustainability of family farms and the revitalization of rural communities nationwide.”
Throughout the week, thousands of U.S. farmers markets will highlight the range of produce, fruit, meat, dairy and specialty products available from their local and regional farmers. USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory makes it easy to locate farmers markets in towns and neighborhoods across the country. Buying directly from farmers and ag entrepreneurs helps diversify farm incomes and supports other businesses by keeping more money in the local economy.
In addition to being good for farmers and convenient for consumers, farmers markets are a gathering place which build a sense of community.
The Alabama Farmers Federation's Mac Higginbotham said farmers markets help create a connection between farmers and consumers.
"Farmers markets bridge a gap between the producers who grow fresh food and the consumers who enjoy eating it," said Higginbotham, the Federation’s Horticulture Division director. "Recognizing the role farmers markets play in society is vital, and we appreciate Secretary Perdue encouraging consumers to support their local farmers."