(US) National Farmers Market Week: August 4th - 10th (slightly updated)
Sunday starts National Farmers Market Week, which provides another excuse for you to go to a farmers market.
Notions Capital calls our attention to this article from Slate, "Fight the Farmers Market Backlash." The headline is somewhat misleading. The article mostly discusses public markets--buildings that house markets, like Eastern Market in DC or Tokyo's --and how market functions (think NYC's Meatpacking District, which is now a hip place to live) get displaced over time as real estate values rise.
But it also discusses the positive elements around markets, in terms of strengthening quality of life (and not so much about how selling direct allows farmers to make more money).
And I came across this report from the Kellogg Foundation, Perceptions of the U.S. Food System: What and How Americans Think about their Food. (I haven't read it yet.)
I have a past blog entry on reasons why communities create farmers markets here, "The reason(s) why a farmers market is created shapes the type and mix of vendors allowed to sell."
I wish that DC did more focused food security and food market planning and coordination than it does.
Toronto's Food Policy Council is a good model for what can be done in this arena, although many other communities have set up similar food policy councils, following the example of Toronto.
The Neighborhood Notes blog in Portland has a good entry on creating successful farmers markets, "Ingredients of a successful farmers market," which references this market study of farmers markets, Portland Farmers Markets/Direct-Market Economic Analysis: Characteristics of Successful Farmers Markets.
For example, DC's Union Market started a Sunday Farmers Market a couple weeks ago (although I was surprised that even though it is a FreshFARM market which tends to be organic and therefore extremely expensive, some of the vendors--most sold added value items, not produce--had reasonable pricing) and the Washington Business Journal reports a similar case, "Temporary farmer's market eyed for prime U Street real estate.
One of the problems of such efforts is that this can lead to a over-availability of markets. For the amount of sales, DC actually has more markets than are probably supportable. Contrast this to Baltimore, which has fewer markets, but each one is much bigger, with greater variety, and less expensive food, compared to DC markets.
National Farmers Market Week Kickoff this Weekend in D.C.
The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, Wholesome Wave and D.C. Greens will host a press conference on August 3rd at 10:00 am (at the farmers market, on 14th and Park Streets NW) where the USDA will announce the 2013 farmers market numbers. Every year, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service issues updates to the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, tracking the number of farmers markets in the United States. The directory also documents how many markets are offering electronic benefit transfer access for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers, and how many accept WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons.
-- National Farmers Market Coalition blog entries tagged National Farmers Market Week
Below is a great infographic on Farmers Markets from the American Farmland Trust, which was created as part of their "I Love My Farmers Market" campaign.