On Monday, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher kicked off the official Farmers Market Week festivities, praising local farmers for providing communities with nutritious and affordable produce while simultaneously stimulating local economies. In his statement on Monday, he urged all New Jersey residents to visit their local farmers markets this week, taking advantage of the Garden State’s bounty.
New Jersey isn’t the only state celebrating local farmers. National Farmers Market Week celebrations have been growing in popularity in recent years, along with the overall number of farmers markets themselves. According to information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets increased over seventeen percent from last year, adding more than 1,000 new locations nationwide. California currently tops the list of farmers markets, with almost 700 locations statewide.
In addition to providing nutritious food, farmers markets and local agricultural production is a major boon to state economies across the nation. According to USDA estimates, even modest support local support for farmers markets can have a major impact in local unemployment.
The USDA has estimated that each farmers market can help create up to 27 jobs, meaning that support and patronage for 500 farmers markets could translate into 13,500 local jobs. In an era of skyrocketing unemployment, local agriculture is a much needed shot in the arm for the U.S. economy.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer