WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared Aug. 2 through 8, 2015, as “National Farmers Market Week.” The declaration was made official by proclamation signed by Secretary Vilsack. This year marks the 16th annual National Farmers Market Week in honor of the important role that farmers markets play in local economies. Throughout the week, USDA will celebrate thousands of our nation’s farmers markets, the farmers and ranchers who make them possible and the communities that host them.
“National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity for farmers markets across the country to host special events to showcase all the tremendous services they provide,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support farmers and help grow rural economies. They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms and providing Americans with fresh, healthy food.”
Throughout the week, USDA officials will celebrate at farmers market locations across the country. On Saturday, Aug. 1, Anne Alonzo, the Administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – which conducts research, provides technical assistance, and awards grants to support farmers markets – will kick off the week at the Santa Fe Farmers Market in New Mexico. The Santa Fe Farmers Market is the oldest in New Mexico and is ranked as one of the top ten farmers markets nationwide.
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.
Supporting farmers markets is a part of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s policy, resources, and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack has identified strengthening local food systems as one of the Four Pillars of Agriculture and Rural Economic Development.