Big Surprise: Farmers’ Markets on the Increase

The USDA (rather belatedly) began tracking farmers’ markets in 1994.  Although they’re still not very good at it (a check of their database shows exactly THREE in my hometown of Cincinnati which in reality hosts dozens every week) even with their limited knowledge of and connection with actual farmers (!) they’re seeing significant growth in number of farmers’ markets over the years.

Number of operating farmers' markets 1994-2008

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  1. Pamela, it is a happy li’l chart, isn’t it? Although with the USDA’s apparent inability to find more than three farmers’ markets in my hometown when I can find dozens just by checking with localharvest.org, I do kind of wonder if there’s actually MORE farmers’ markets or if they’re just FINDING more of them as the years go by! 😀

  2. The number of farmers markets has definitely increased in my area since 1994. What’s even better, they are growing in the urban and lower income neighborhoods where they don’t have the luxury of even mediocre grocery stores in their neighborhoods. The more, the better!

  3. Carla, I agree! I just yesterday went to a brand-new-this-year farmers’ market in a lower-income neighborhood, to see how it’s doing. Establishing a new farmers’ market can be a real uphill climb for the first couple of years. They had maybe eight vendors, and there were people waiting to buy from them while they were setting up, so that’s promising. But it’s got a long way to go before it becomes a thriving market. I’m going to try to hit them a couple times a month next year, see if I can’t help them get off the ground.

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