Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has proclaimed Aug. 6-12 to be National Farmers Market Week. This is the eighteenth year USDA has supported local producers by encouraging families to meet, and buy from, the farmers and other vendors at their local farmers market.
The proclamation Perdue signed notes farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute about $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 has an outsized impact by helping diversify farm incomes and supporting other businesses by keeping more money in the local economy.
In addition to being good for the farmers and convenient for consumers, farmers markets are a gathering place that help build a sense of community.
On Friday, Aug. 11, USDA’s flagship Farmers Market in Washington is hosting several special events on the National Mall at 12th Street and Jefferson from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and adding a special Night Market from 4 p.m.–8 p.m. Special guests include the Farmers Market Coalition, the official chef of the Washington Capitals Robert Wood, and the U.S. Army Band.