NASHVILLE – Tennessee’s farmers markets create an economic and social bridge between the state’s rural communities and its major population centers. There are many ways for you to celebrate this vital role during National Farmers Market Week Aug. 5-11.
With 168 farmers markets listed on the Pick Tennessee website and mobile app, it is easy to find fresh foods and goods near you. Many markets will recognize the week with extra vendors, special guests and activities, food demonstrations, and even live music. Korean Veterans Bridge in Nashville will be lit green for the evenings of Aug. 10-11 to recognize the impact of farmers markets across Tennessee.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), people who shop at farmers markets eat more fruits and vegetables than those who shop at grocery stores, and proximity to a farmers market is associated with a lower body mass index. Farmers markets also improve a community’s social health. Data from USDA surveys reveal that people who shop at farmers markets report 15 to 20 positive social interactions per visit, compared to 1 or 2 at a grocery store.
Significant economic benefits also reach to our most rural areas. Markets serve as incubators for small food and farm product businesses, giving rural entrepreneurs a platform to improve their products and business decision-making. The average American farmer receives about 17 cents for every dollar spent on food purchased through a grocery store, but farmers who sell at a farmers market earn about 90 cents. The benefit to agricultural communities is also social. In an industry where the average farmer’s age is over 60, 16 percent of all farmers market farmers are under 35.
Pick Tennessee is a free service of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture that connects consumers with Tennessee farmers, farmers markets, farm products, and activities, plus food and farm related products made in Tennessee.
The Tennessee’s farmers markets directory can be accessed at http://www.PickTNProducts.org and via the Pick TN mobile app. Follow Pick Tennessee on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for seasonal updates and information about farm related events, activities, and products.