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WASHINGTON—The American Farmland Trust has kicked off its fourth annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest at votemyfarmersmarket.org.
Shoppers can vote—only once—through Sept. 3 for as many participating markets as they choose.
The 2012 contest has expanded to include all 7,175 markets listed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farmers Market Directory. A $1,000 Farmers Market Inspiration Award, sponsored by the Farmers Market Coalition, will be presented to a farmer who shows the greatest dedication to his or her market.
Virginia had more winning markets than any other state in last year’s contest, with nine ranked in the Top 20 and four in the Top 5 in their respective size categories.
“Shopping at farmers’ markets is one of my favorite parts of the summer,” said American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl. “In addition to the freshest local foods, farmers’ markets offer a great way for consumers to get to know the farmers who grow their food.”
The 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture reported a 49 percent growth in sales from farms directly to consumers since 2002—representing $1.2 billion that stayed in local communities. Virginia has seen a considerable growth in farmers’ markets; the commonwealth had 88 markets in 2004 and has more than 200 today.
Contact Gretchen Mais, American Farmland Trust, at 202-378-1251.
If your publication or radio or television station is delivering stellar coverage of agriculture on an ongoing basis, this is the award competition to enter.