Michigan Ranks in the Top 10 in the Nation for Winter Farm Markets
December 20 , 2011
LANSING, Mich. - For the first time ever, Michigan has made the top ten list for the number of winter farmers markets held in the state. Farmers markets operating at least once between November and March are considered winter farmers markets. Michigan ranks 10th nationally, with 33 winter farmers markets, a 58 percent increase from the 19 winter farmers markets that operated in Michigan in 2010. New York topped the list with 180 winter farmers markets, up from 152 in 2010.
The winter market top ten list was announced last week by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). USDA's National Farmers Market Directory shows that since 2010, the number of winter markets has increased 38 percent nationwide, from 886 to 1,225. These winter markets account for nearly 17 percent of the nation's 7,222 operating farmers markets. Other states to make the top ten list of winter farmers markets were: California (153 markets), Pennsylvania (78 markets), North Carolina (73 markets), Ohio (50 markets), Maryland (48 markets), Florida (46 markets), Massachusetts (43 markets), and Virginia (40 markets).
"The demand for locally grown food continues to increase," said Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development Director Keith Creagh. "Through winter markets, consumers are able to buy local products year-round, and farmers are able to bring in additional income to support their families and businesses in what has traditionally been a slower time of the year for many farm businesses."
The expanded use of hoop house technology, which has enabled many smaller growers to extend their production seasons at low cost, has been a contributing factor to the growth of winter farmers markets. Hoop houses allow growers to produce locally grown products for longer time periods and in colder climates.
"Dollars spent at area farmers markets are more likely to stay in Michigan, which helps strengthen our local economy, increases access to fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables, benefits our communities and reconnects us to our agriculture roots," Creagh added. "Buying locally also provides an opportunity to meet the people who feed us and learn how our food was grown and produced."
To find a full list of farmers markets in Michigan, visit the Michigan Farmers Market Association's website at www.mifma.org and click on "Find a Farmers Market."
USDA provides support to farmers markets through numerous programs, including AMS Specialty Crop Block Grants Program and Farmers Market Promotion Program. Results from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory are based upon voluntary reporting from farmers market managers. The USDA National Farmers Market Directory is available online at http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets.
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