Monday, August 8, 2011

National Farmers Market week

The USDA cited the importance of farmers markets for both suppliers and consumers in proclaiming this week as "National Farmers Market Week."  Farmers benefit from another outlet to market their wares while providing customers with access to “affordable, convenient and healthful products sold directly from the farm in their freshest possible state,” according to a USDA press release.

“I encourage the people of the United States to celebrate the benefits of farmers markets and the bountiful production of our [n]ation’s farmers with appropriate observances and activities,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack in the proclamation.

The USDA also emphasized the role of farmers markets in local and regional food systems. It said farmers markets encourage interaction between farmers and community members and provide a source of community spirit.

The increased use of electronic benefits transfer (EBT) technology, the successor to food stamp programs, at farmers markets was cited in the proclamation. The USDA also praised donations from farmers markets to food banks and other feeding programs.

Connecticut farmers markets also participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which provides supplemental food to low-income women who are pregnant or have recently given birth and children up to five years old that are at a nutritional risk.

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture maintains a list of farmers markets by county here.

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