The U.S. Department of Agriculture is celebrating Farmers Market Week by highlighting the evolution of the nation’s local and regional food systems. USDA says the local food sector represents more than $12 billion dollars per year in sales. A recent survey by USDA shows that 56 percent of local markets were able to increase their product variety because of vendor recruitment and market growth in the last year. Another 37 percent were able to contract directly with local restaurants to have their vendors supply fresh ingredients. 17 percent of markets report their farmers were able to increase farm acreage due to participation in local markets, and 41 percent say the market enabled their local farmers to continue farming. USDA is helping to foster continuing growth in local food markets as the agency has made over 900 investments in the last two years in local food infrastructure that connects farmers with local markets.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.