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Value Local Vendors, Celebrate National Farmers’ Market Week!

Amidst a sea of white pop up tents and folding tables, the sights and smells abound – fragrant peaches in peak season, plump heirloom tomatoes, and perfectly-picked peppers. Sound familiar?

Over the past few years, local farmers’ market movements have been sweeping the nation – 2012 alone boasted a 10% increase, bringing the total number of markets to 7,800! Communities across the country are coming together to celebrate and showcase the importance of buying local, fresh produce.

Markets not only stimulate local economies and increase access to nutritious options, but also support healthy communities by increasing social interactions among community members. Recognizing these benefits, Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and the USDA have teamed up to create the Farmers Market Directory, an online database at farmersmarkets.usda.gov, that identifies new farmers markets, the states with the highest number of markets in operation, and the total number of farmers markets that have registered throughout the United States.

To kick-off National Farmers’ Market Week (August 4th-10th), USDA will hold an event to launch this directory on Saturday, August 3rd at the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace in Washington D.C. Throughout the week, markets nationwide will also be hosting a variety of special events such as tastings, gardening workshops, live music, and healthy recipe cooking demos. So use the directory, find a market in your area, and make a day of it!