The USDA's National Farmers Market Directory lists over 8,400 operational farmers markets, a number that has more than quadrupled since 1994. This trend bodes well for local food producers, businesses, artists, artisans, communities, economies and each one of us.
And the more the merrier...more markets, more vendors (with more local craftspeople), more farms producing, sustaining more farming families, more local businesses, consumers, institutions (Yes, our hospitals! School systems! Assisted living facilities!) buying more, more months open, more funding to improve access for all...
Farmers markets work on so many levels to build sustainable channels in and between rural and urban communities, for and among farmers, consumers, private and public enterprises, and for the health of our bodies, environment and commerce. We need farmers markets and we need them to be a viable, vital piece of strengthening our country for years to come.
The following resources can help us start, fund and promote farmers markets so not only do they exist in more and more places, but they also succeed for all involved.