The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), a national organization committed to strengthening farmers markets, announces the launch of the nationwide campaign celebrating the 22nd annual National Farmers Market Week (NFMW), August 1st – 7th, 2021. NFMW, a weeklong celebration formally declared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), highlights the important role farmers markets play in the nation’s food system. This year, NFMW is sponsored by GT’s Living Foods, Square, Farm Credit Council, American Farmland Trust, and Farm Aid.
Each year, farmers markets across the country mark NFMW with special events showcasing the ways farmers markets benefit local farmers, consumers, and communities. In preparation, FMC’s 2021 NFMW campaign provides more than 8,600 farmers markets nationwide with a marketing toolkit organizers can use to promote events at their markets, and demonstrate the specific ways farmers markets are an essential part of local food systems.
This year, FMC’s NFMW campaign will focus on three key messages that illustrate the vital role farmers markets play in communities, specifically in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and renewed calls for social justice reform across the country. Market operators are encouraged to share how their market has 1) provided essential services during the pandemic, has 2) served as a community hub for unity and stability during challenging times, and 3) what efforts have been taken to improve social equity at farmers markets across the country to make markets more safe, inviting, and accessible spaces for all.
“It has been a challenging year for farmers markets, but market operators have truly risen to the occasion to ensure communities could continue to access fresh food produced by local farmers,” said Ben Feldman, Executive Director of FMC. “Nothing has emphasized the intrinsic role farmers markets play in our food system quite like the Covid-19 pandemic, but market operators quickly adapted to implement innovative safety practices, keeping their communities both healthy and fed, and their market thriving.”
National Farmers Market Week is a time for those in the farmers market field to reflect on progress towards creating better farmers markets for everyone. “Farmers markets are a vibrant community space that foster connection, but the demographic of farmers markets has not always reflected their local communities and we have not always created a space where everyone can feel welcome,” shares FMC board president Brian Coppom. “Now, there are farmers market operators and community organizers paving the way to improve equity in the farmers market space. We fundamentally believe that farmers markets are for everyone and seek to support efforts to make farmers markets inviting, safe, and accessible for all.”
National Farmers Market Week is a chance to celebrate all that farmers markets do for communities, but it is also important to emphasize the need to support markets, not just during NFMW, but throughout the entire year. While interest in sourcing local food continues to grow in communities across the country, the increased costs and time required to stay operational throughout the pandemic have been major challenges for all markets. Farmers market supporters are encouraged to participate in the celebration by shopping at or donating to their local market, and using the hashtags #FarmersMarketWeek and #FarmersMarketsAreEssential to help spread the word about their market.
As the only national organization dedicated to the needs of farmers market operators, FMC makes it easy for all market managers, regardless of capacity, to participate in NFMW by providing free marketing tools, guides and materials. FMC is also available to help media cover NFMW by connecting reporters to farmers market managers, farmers, and advocates, as well as FMC board members and staff. In addition, reporters can access FMC’s infographics, farmers market facts, and featured markets to support their stories.