Last month, farmers’ market goers across the nation entered their picks for their favorite farmers’ markets as part of a contest by American Farmland Trust.
“Over 50,000 people from across the country voted for their favorite farmers’ markets this summer,” says Jane Kirchner, senior director of marketing for AFT. “And in the last three weeks of the promotion, we’ve seen the top 20 markets in each category change positions, sometimes daily.”
AFT designed the online contest to promote the economic and social value of farmers’ markets in communities and to bring attention to the need for consumers and communities to recognize the necessity of local farm and ranch land for the existence of fresh, healthy and local food.
“Customers can visit our website and learn the top 20 markets in each of contest’s four market categories,” adds Kirchner. The top markets for each category are:
- Boutique Markets (15 or fewer vendors): King George Farmers’ Market, King George, Va.
- Small Markets (16 to 30 vendors): Champaign County Farmers’ Market, Urbana, Ohio
- Medium Markets (31 to 55 vendors): Falls Church Farmers Market, Falls Church, Va.
- Large Markets (56 or more vendors): City of Rochester Public Market, Rochester, N.Y.
“This contest is a win/win for every farmers’ market that enters because American Farmland Trust keeps the focus on farmers, farmland and farmers’ markets,” says Randii McNear, executive director of the Davis, Calif., farmers’ market. Davis Farmers Market won in the large category in August 2009, the first year of the contest. “We’ll always be honored to have won the title of ‘America’s Favorite’ in the contest’s first year. I’m sure every farmers’ market that placed in the top 20 in their category is feeling the love of their community today.”
The top four markets will each receive a shipment of personalized “No Farms No Food” recyclable tote bags along with other prizes, including free printing services from igreenprint and free graphic design services from Virginia-based design firm SQN Communications.
“It’s been great fun to watch this promotion unfold,” says Kirchner. “We hope that all of the markets have seen increased interest in and visitors to their markets as a result of the promotion and that they will participate in next year’s contest.”
AFT will announce further information on the winners and ongoing efforts to support and promote farmers’ markets through its website and other media.
“We hope farmers and foodies will participate in AFT’s next campaign, Dine Out for Farms, the week of Oct. 10 to 16, and continue the momentum of support for farms by dining at participating restaurants around the country,” Kirchner says.