From August 7- August 13, Farmers Markets across the country will celebrate National Farmers Market Week. The impact of these farmer direct to consumer transactions have more impact than you would think on our local economy and farmland. Farmers Markets serve as an incubator for many businesses, positively influencing community health and increase access to fresh, nutritious food.
The East Nashville Farmers Market has certainly been the incubator for many of Nashville’s most popular businesses, as I discussed in last week’s blog.
But more than that, the East Nashville Farmers Market was the first market in Middle TN to accept SNAP market wide. This means customers, for the first time, were able to purchase from any vendor they chose with their SNAP/EBT. Now nearly every market accepts SNAP, and we are even more fortunate to have the “Double SNAP” program from Piedmont Gas that allows us to offer an additional $20 for customers to spend on fruits and vegetables!
Nationwide, the amount of SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers markets increased nearly 450% from 2009 ($4.2 million) to 2014 ($18.8 million) according to the Farmers Market Coalition. We are proud to start the movement in Nashville for markets to accept SNAP!
The East Nashville Farmers Market is also helping to preserve farmland. Farmers Market Coalition states: Between 2007 and 2012, America lost more than 95,000 mostly mid-sized family farms, while the average age of American farmers increased to nearly 60. Farmers market serve as business incubators that allow farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs to keep overheads low and test new products and markets.
Our market is home to many small family farms who depend on our market for their livelihood and our customers depend on them for their fresh, locally grown food. We are producers only market, meaning no resellers and only farmers, so you can be assured that your favorite farmer is the one who raises/makes/bakes the product you love!
Thank you for helping us to celebrate National Farmers Market Week, and thank you for supporting our farmers!