Aug 5, 2013Farmers’ markets still growing
USDA, as part of National Farmers Market Week, announced that 8,144 farmers’ markets are now listed in the department’s National Farmers Market Directory, up from about 5,000 in 2008.
The directory, voluntarily updated by farmers’ market managers, state departments of agriculture, marketing associations and others, is published online at farmersmarkets.usda.gov. This year, the directory has been upgraded to include a new Application Programming Interface that improves customer access to farmers’ market data.
Local food and direct-marketing opportunities, including farmers’ markets, are one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, direct sales of food products from farmers to individual consumers rose by nearly 50 percent between 2002 and 2007. Worth an estimated $1 billion in 2005, local food sales grew to $4.8 billion in 2007 and nearly $7 billion last year, according to industry estimates.
The 10 top states account for more than half (51.3 percent) of all markets listed in the directory database: California (759), New York (637), Illinois (336), Michigan (331), Ohio (300), Pennsylvania (290), Massachusetts (289), Wisconsin (286), Missouri (246), Virginia (246), Iowa (229), North Carolina (229).