WASHINGTON—The American Farmland Trust has kicked off its second annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest at farmland.org/vote.
Shoppers can vote—only once—through Aug. 31 for as many participating markets as they choose. Market managers can register their venues at no charge at farmland.org/marketmanager.
Last year Virginia markets made an impressive showing. Shoppers ranked the Williamsburg Farmers’ Market first among medium-size markets nationwide. The Historic Roanoke City Market came in at No. 7; Yorktown Market Days at the River at No. 8; and the Goochland Farmers’ Market at No. 19. In the small market category, George Mason University’s Smart Markets at Mason was ranked third and the City of Virginia Beach Farmers’ Market was sixth.
"Farmers’ markets are one of the best ways for consumers to support local farms and farmers," said Julia Freedgood, AFT managing director for farmland and communities.
The 2007 U.S. Agricultural Census reported a 49 percent growth in sales from farms directly to consumers since 2002—representing $1.2 billon that stayed in local communities.
But at the same time, AFT noted, nearly 1 million acres of U.S. farmland are developed each year—most around cities where there is greatest demand for local food. "We need to make the connection: There’s no local food without local farms and farmland," Freedgood said.
Contact Jennifer Morrill, AFT, at 301-792-6238.