National Farmers Market Week kicked off unofficially on Saturday, with a ceremony overseen by Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Anne Alonzo at the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Wisconsin. Located on the grounds of the capitol building, this is the largest producer-only farmers market in the country. Other USDA officials will be at farmers market locations nationwide throughout the week.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared August 3 - 9 as National Farmers Market Week with an official proclamation. This is the fifteenth year for the celebration. The USDA began declaring Farmers Market Week in 2000.
"National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity for farmers markets across the country to host special events to showcase all the tremendous services they provide," said Secretary Vilsack. "Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support family farms, and help grow rural economies. They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms that support them and provide Americans across the country with fresh, healthy food."
Vendors at farmers markets increasingly are offering Electronic Benefits Transfer technology for recipients of the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program for low-income Women, Infants, and Children known as WIC, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for older adults. Farmers markets are an integral part of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative.