WASHINGTON, July 11, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack signed a proclamation declaring Aug. 7-13, 2016, as "National Farmers Market Week." This year marks the 17th annual National Farmers Market Week to honor and celebrate the important role that farmers markets play in local economies.
"Farmers markets are an important part of strong local and regional food systems that connect farmers with new customers and grow rural economies. In many areas, they are also expanding access to fresh, healthy food for people of all income levels," said Secretary Vilsack. "National Farmers Market Week recognizes the growth of these markets and their role in supporting both urban and rural communities."
Throughout the week, USDA officials will celebrate at farmers market locations across the country. On Saturday, Aug. 6, Elanor Starmer, the Administrator of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – which conducts research, provides technical assistance, and awards grants to support local and regional food systems – will kick off the week visiting a farmers market and wrap up the week at USDA's own farmers market in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Aug. 12.
"Farmers markets are a gathering place where you can buy locally produced food, and at the same time, get to know the farmer and story behind the food you purchase," said Administrator Starmer. "These types of markets improve earning potential for farmers and ranchers, building stronger community ties and access to local foods."
Over the course of the Obama Administration, USDA has invested close to $1 billion in 40,000 local food businesses and infrastructure projects. Farmers markets provide consumers with fresh, affordable, convenient, and healthy products from local producers. With support from USDA, more farmers markets offer customers the opportunity to make purchases with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program; and the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Programs.