National farmers market week: August 4-10, 2013

10 reasons to shop farmers markets.

Farmers markets are a place for communities, both rural and urban, to come together and enjoy fresh seasonal food. The number of farmers markets has increased across the country, and they have become places for community residents to learn where their food comes from, to meet people in their community, to find out about resources and obtain some fresh, nutritious food. In many instances, residents can participate in a variety of activities for families and enjoy fresh produce from local farms and artisans.

According to USDA’s Know Your Farmer program, farmers markets have increased the number of direct producer to consumer sales and are improving the economic vitality of communities. Currently, there are 7,864 farmers markets listed in USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. This is a 9.6 percent increase from 2011. In addition, many communities are seeing improved access for low-income individuals as more and more markets are accepting SNAP or Michigan Bridge cards.

As we celebrate National Farmers Market Week beginning August 4, here are the 10 top reasons why Michigan State University Extension encourages consumers to shop at farmers markets:

  1. There is a farmers market near you:
  2. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in season and can stretch your food dollar.
  3. You can learn where food comes from and meet local farmers.
  4. Michigan Bridge Card is now accepted at more markets across Michigan.
  5. Supporting your local farmers market strengthens your local community through jobs and economic development.
  6. You can create a healthier plate by making fruits and vegetables half your plate. Learn more at myplate.
  7. Kids can get involved! Let them pick a new fruit or vegetable they have not tried - like purple potatoes!
  8. Shopping at farmers markets helps to keep dollars in your local community.
  9. You can try a new fruit or vegetable.
  10. Fresh fruits and vegetables are at their peak flavor and nutrition.

The best way to celebrate National Farmers Market Week is to go to your nearest farmers market, meet your farmers, and purchase the wonderful produce they have grown.

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