Say Cheese: Groups Celebrate National Farmers Market Week With Photo Contests
To help create greater awareness of the roughly 8,000 farmers markets throughout the United States, associations are sponsoring contests during National Farmers Market Week encouraging the public to visit their local markets.
Have you visited your local farmers market this summer? If not, this week is the perfect time, because it’s National Farmers Market Week.
This is the 15th year the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a national week recognizing the role these markets play in the U.S. agricultural and food economy, and a number of associations are helping to bring greater awareness to the week and local farmers markets.
The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, for example, is sponsoring its second annual “Love My Market” photo contest. Participants can submit photos they’ve taken at their local farmers market either directly to PCFMA or post the photos on Instagram with a special hashtag, #lovemyPCFMAmarket. Interested participants may submit photos throughout the month of August, and some will be eligible to win prizes, including a one-night stay to a local bed–and-breakfast and cash toward purchases at PCFMA markets.
The Vermont Farmers’ Market Association, in collaboration with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, hosted a similar photo contest during the two weeks leading up to National Famers Market Week. The two groups asked people to submit selfies taken at local markets to the VTFMA Facebook page, and winners received gift certificates to their favorite Vermont farmers market.
The number of farmers markets in Vermont, and throughout the U.S., has just about tripled since 2000, the year National Farmers Market Week was conceived. Today, the official week is a good opportunity for farmers markets to host events showcasing the services they provide Americans, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement announcing the dates of this year’s celebration.
“Farmers markets play a key role in developing local and regional food systems that support family farms and help grow rural economies,” Vilsack said. “They bring communities together, connecting cities with the farms that support them, and provide Americans across the country with fresh, healthy food.”