ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan has declared August 5-11 as Maryland Farmers Market Week to coincide with the 19th annual National Farmers Market Week. The Maryland Department of Agriculture encourages citizens to celebrate the week by visiting farmers markets and buying local products. Find a farmers market near you by visiting the Maryland’s Best website.
“Buying locally from a Maryland farmers market not only directly supports our hardworking farmers, but also Maryland’s rural communities and our state’s economy,” said Governor Hogan. “When we buy within our own communities, we are creating more jobs, spurring economic growth and promoting sustainability. With so many fresh, nutritious produce options grown right here in our state, I encourage Marylanders to visit at least one of our many farmers markets this week.”
The growing consumer demand for locally-grown products is evident at both the state and national level. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service began the National Farmers Market Directory in 1994. Since then, the number of markets voluntarily listed has grown from 1,755 to more than 8,700 across the country.
There are currently more than 120 farmers markets in Maryland—including at least one in each county and Baltimore City. These markets are important economic drivers for the state’s agriculture industry. Maryland farmers markets generated $53 million dollars in total sales, with more than 2.3 million consumers visiting the markets in 2016, according to a 2016 survey by the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Maryland Farmers Market Association.
“Maryland farmers offer a variety of in-season produce at farmers markets around the state,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “These markets are an important source of income for our farm families, and provide an important link between the state’s urban and rural communities. Buying directly from farmers gives consumers an opportunity to learn more about farming and develop trust in the integrity and accountability of our growers.”
Approximately 260 Maryland farmers participate annually in the Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for Women, Infants, Children (WIC) and Seniors. Nearly half of the markets also participate in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps. These programs help expand access for low-income Marylanders to be able to purchase fresh produce at Maryland farmers markets.
Some statistics about Maryland farmers markets:
- Number of MDA Recognized Farmers Markets: 121
- Number of markets with FMNP farmers: 121
- Number of markets that accept SNAP: 45
- Number of markets providing matching dollars for FMNP/SNAP: 24
- Number of markets in food desert: 13
- Number of markets in food desert with SNAP: 10
National Farmers Market Week follows soon after the Maryland Buy Local Challenge week (July 21-29), which Governor Hogan celebrated with a Buy Local Cookout at Government House on July 19. During the Buy Local Challenge Week, Marylanders were asked to eat at least one thing locally grown, raised or produced each day. The Maryland Deparment of Agriculture hopes that consumers will continue to eat locally throughout farmers market week and beyond.
Join the celebration online and help promote National Farmers Market Week and Maryland Farmers Market Week by sharing your favorite farmers market photos on social media using #FarmersMarketWeek, #LoveMyMarket or #BuyLocalMD. Also, be sure to tag the Maryland Department of Agriculture (@MdAgDept) and Maryland’s Best (@MDsBest) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
For more information on farmers markets in your area, visit Maryland’s Best or call 410-841-5770.