The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is charged with promoting the economic success of America's small farm operators. By USDA Standards, "Small Farm Operators" are those with less than $250,000 in annual receipts who work and manage their own operations. An amazing 94% of all farms in America meet that definition. In other words, AMS is trying to make sure the American "family farm" survives. The backbone of this effort is the AMS Farmers Markets program.
Public Farmers Markets are among the most successful programs of AMS offering consumers the unique experience of buying fresh, farm-grown produce face-to-face from the farmers who grew them. In USDA surveys, consumers say they go to farmers markets for fresh food, direct contact with farmers, and of course, to save money.. Farmers markets also help to promote nutrition education, wholesome eating habits, and better food preparation, as well as boosting the community's economy.
Family Farmers Win
As for the farmers, they get direct access to markets, increased farm income, and the opportunity to inform and educate the public about the nutritional benefits of farm-grown products. In a 1995 USDA survey of 772 farmers markets, over 6,000 farmers said they sell their products only at farmers markets.
There's A Farmers Market Near You
In the 1998 Directory of Farmers Markets, you'll find the address, dates, and details of some 3,000 USDA-supported Farmers Markets in every state. Just click on your state for a list. Then, just get hungry and go shopping! Not only will you help support America's farmers, you will come home with fresh, pure, nutritious produce, and a little more money in your pocket.
If You're a Farmer
And would like sell at (or set up) an AMS sponsored farmers market in your area, here are some web pages with important information for you:
Or, to talk to humans about Farmers Markets, call toll-free: 1-800-384-8704
Shopped at a Farmers Market?
If you have, tell us about your experience on the Free Opinion Bulletin Board.