The United States Department of Agriculture has been keeping statistics on farmers markets since 1994. Since then, the number of local and regional grower or producer only markets in the US has grown considerably, prompting the USDA to create a number of programs to help in the promotion and operation of our nations farmers markets. In 2009, National Farmers Market Week was enacted.
Under the Department's Agricultural Marketing Service, various divisions offer grant programs, statistics on trends, how-to information, marketing material. and much more. The USDA along with State Agricultural Departments like the Missouri Department of Agriculture LOVE THEIR SMALL FARMERS and the FARMERS MARKETS through which they sell their products.
To date, 17 states have enacted "Cottage Food' or "Small Food Entrepreneur Bills" to promote and protect small food businesses, many of which are farm related. In Missouri, the State's Agriculture Department has a division called AgriMissouri which has programs specifically designed to help farmers markets grow.
This week in honor of National Farmers Market Week, stop by on Sat. Aug 13 or any Market Day and I'd be pleased to introduce you to the Clayton Farmer's Market's "Green Growers". They are following in the "food-steps" of the folks who started the farmers market trends we see today by "trucking" their produce to urban areas. The original USDA definition of a farmers market was literally something like----where two or more farmers meet in a public place to sell their produce off the back of their trucks.
It sounds like the lead-in to a good joke: what's the definition of a Farmers Market? But, today's Markets are anything but that as evidenced by their growing popularity in towns and cities across the nation. Support your regions farmers and small food entrepreneurs by visiting your neighborhood Farmers Market today.