On Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) launched it’s latest campaign to collect information about farmers markets for the 2010 National Farmers Market Directory. man-at-farmers-market-featured.jpgThe National Farmers Market Directory is the official record of the nation’s farmers markets.  It captures information about where farmers markets operate and if they accept food assistance program vouchers and electronic benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) and Farmers Market Nutrition Program.  The directory also collects information on what types of products are sold at each market. “The USDA Farmers Market Directory provides a snapshot of what is happening at farmers markets, demonstrates how the industry is growing and expanding, and serves as a tool to help consumers find local farmers markets,” said AMS Administrator Rayne Pegg. Information about farmers markets comes to the AMS and can be added by way of market managers, representatives of state farmers market associations, state departments of agriculture, farmers market personnel, and nonprofit organizations.

Since the directory’s creation in 1994, the number of operational farmers markets has tripled from 1,755 to 5,274. “For the future of sound farmer market policies, it is critical to make the USDA National Farmers Market Directory as accurate as possible.  The USDA can’t do it alone, and we ask for assistance in compiling this directory.  Participating in the USDA National Farmers Market Directory tells policymakers, legislators, and other stakeholders that farmers markets continue to be a strong growth industry across the United States,” Pegg said. The USDA’s website allows consumers to find farmers markets in their area. Data collection for the 2010 USDA National Farmers Market Directory will continue through May 14. Photo Source: Healthy SD.gov (cropped)