National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 2 – 8

We’re part of a movement and here are some facts and figures, courtesy of Farmers Market Coalition. If you revel in all things farmers market, enjoy learning!

The number of farmers markets has increased by over 60% since 2009 to nearly 8,500 today. These markets preserve farmland, stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh nutritious food, improve community health, and promote sustainability (mull over each of those items and you’ll realize that it’s true). Markets are so much more than just an outlet for fresh produce and friendly farmers!

There are 3.5 times as many U.S. farmers over the age of 65 as there are under 35. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for new farmers, allowing them to start small as they earn and test the market.

16% of farmers selling at farmers markets are under 35 and 43% have farmed for less than 10 years. These rates are twice the national rates for all farmers according to the 2012 Ag Census.

50% of farmers selling at farmers markets derive at least half their revenue from farmers market sales.

The number of farmers markets operating in winter months has nearly tripled since 2010. The 2,469 markets open in the winter provide an extended opportunity for farmers to do business. The Coppell FM Winter Market begins on December 12, 2015.

Farms selling local food through direct-to-consumer marketing channels were more likely to remain in business over 2007-12 than all farms not using direct-to-consumer marketing channels, according to US Census of Agriculture data.

A 2010 study by USDA’s Economic Research Service compared producers selling salad mix, blueberries, milk, beef, and apples locally with producers of the same products selling to mainstream supply. “In all five cases, nearly all of the wage and proprietor income earned in the local market chains is retained in the local economy.”

“Farmers markets play a vital role in forming healthy, local food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture, sharing recipes, and exposing them to new foods. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

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