Tim Hodson is the editorial director of GPN and Big Grower. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Are You Going to the Market?
Yesterday marked the beginning of National Farmers Market Week 2013.
Did you know that, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Farmers Market Directory, there are more than 8,000 farmers markets currently operating in the United States? That number has increased by more than 300 since last year and by more than 3,000 since 2008!
The top five states account for nearly one-third of all the farmers markets listed in the USDA's directory:
1. California (759)
2. New York (637)
3. Illinois (336)
4. Michigan (331)
5. Ohio (300)
While farmers markets are obviously a major outlet for ag producers, they have become a growing market for greenhouse growers too. As consumers continue to try to find local food sources to feed their families, they provide a great opportunity for growers like you to participate in the community and sell the different types of products that you are producing (edible and ornamental).
These markets provide growers with a chance to help raise their awareness (and sales) within the community — and have a little fun!
"Due to consumer demand for local food we are seeing an increase in the diversity of market offerings, and more participation from small businesses and farms," said Anne Alonzo, the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator.
If you are looking for more information on the farmers markets in your region, be sure to check out the USDA's directory. Users can search the National Farmers Market Directory for farmers markets based on location, available products and types of payment accepted. It is available at farmersmarkets.usda.gov.
So ... do you plan on going to the market? Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know.