The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and the Washington State Farmers Market Association (WSFMA) are teaming up to encourage support for Washington Farmers Market Week, which begins Sunday and continues through Aug. 12.
In a declaration proclaiming Aug. 6-12 “Washington Farmers Market Week,” Gov. Jay Inslee encouraged people to visit their local market and taste the produce from local farms in their peak season.
WSFMA Executive Director Will O’Donnell said now is a perfect time to visit a local market.
“The second week of August is the perfect time to go. All of our markets are open and packed with everything sweet and colorful, from berries to tomatoes to peaches and melons, as well as the kale and carrots we’re known for year round” O’Donnell said. “Farmers markets directly support the health of our farms, our bodies and even our economy. Most farmers markets are labors of love and this week shines a spotlight on the important service our markets and farms provide Washington.”
Over the last 15 years, O’Donnell notes, WSFMA member markets have generated nearly $500 million dollars to Washington’s economy.
According to UC Davis and others, shopping at farmers markets has about twice the economic impact of regular retail shopping. By that measure, WSFMA member markets have contributed nearly a billion dollars to Washington State’s economy.
And it’s not just dollars that farmers market sales create, according to O’Donnell: “it’s independent businesses created, jobs added, it’s farmland preserved, developed or improved, it’s people fed, it’s health improved, it’s communities revitalized. That’s what farmers markets contribute, and that’s the real impact we have on this state. And that’s why what are members are doing is so very important.”
More good news from O’Donnell: In 2016 WSFMA member markets saw our biggest sales increase in almost a decade and we hit our highest annual sales ever: $47 million. In 2016, 3.3 million shoppers attended WSFMA member markets. More markets than ever accept SNAP EBT and distribute Fresh Bucks. Over a million dollars in food benefits (like SNAP EBT, WIC and Senior FMNP) were redeemed at markets. Over 150,000 lbs of food donated to food banks from markets across the state.
Washington State is proud of its farms and markets and hopes all its citizens will pick up their cloth totebag and head to their nearest market between August 6th and 12th during National Farmers Market Week.According to O’Donnell there is a market open somewhere in Washington every day of the week “except Monday.”
For More Info About How YOUR Farmers Market can participate in National Farmers Market Week, follow the link below to the great resources provide by the national Farmers Market Coalition.