The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo announced recently that USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory now lists 8,268 markets, an increase of 76 percent since 2008.
The data reflects continued demand and growth of farmers markets in every region of the country. Alonzo also says AMS is developing three new local food directories that will expand the USDA’s support for local and regional foods by providing easy access to the most current information about the local food market.
“The National Farmers Market Directory numbers reflect the continued importance of farmers markets to American agriculture. Since its inception, the directory has proven to be a valuable tool for accessing up-to-date information about local farmers markets,” Alonzo says. “Farmers markets play an extremely important role for both farmers and consumers. They bring urban and rural communities together while creating economic growth and increasing access to fresh, healthy foods.”
The USDA National Farmers Market Directory provides information about U.S. farmers market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings and more. The data is collected via voluntary self-reporting by operating farmers market managers and is searchable by zip code, product mix and other criteria.
In addition to the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, AMS is adding:
USDA’s National Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Enterprise Directory – A CSA is a farm or network/association of multiple farms that offer consumers regular deliveries of locally grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis.
USDA’s National Food Hub Directory – A Food Hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, primarily local and regional producers, to strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail and institutional demand.
USDA’s National On-Farm Market Directory – An On-Farm Market is managed by a single farm operator that sells agricultural and/or horticultural products directly to consumers from a location on their farm property or on property adjacent to that farm.
USDA invites local food business owners who fall within these categories to list their operational details in the new directories.These new directories will be available online early in 2015, giving potential customers, business partners and community planners easy, one-stop access to the most current information about different sources of local foods.