August 6-13, 2017 has been declared National Farmers Market Week by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“This is a reminder to support your local farmers and vendors at your area farmers market. Remember, buy fresh, buy local,” said Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
The declaration was made via an official proclamation signed by Perdue. This year marks the 18th Annual National Farmers Market Week recognizing the vital role that farmers markets play in the agricultural and food economy.
“There’s nothing healthier than fresh fruits, vegetables and other locally grown products. When you visit a farmers market, you often get to meet the person who is actually growing your food. What a wonderful way to support the local economy, as well,” added Strain.
According to the USDA, farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute approximately $9 billion each year to the U.S. economy.
The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has again secured a grant from the USDA to participate in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) allowing senior citizens to buy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey at farmers markets and roadside stands. This program helps to increase access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by seniors, as well as supports local farming producers. Seniors who applied for the program this year have until November 30 to visit their local farmers market or roadside stand to utilize their vouchers.
Applications are still being accepted at this time. Strain encourages senior citizens 60 years and older who meet certain income requirements to contact their parish Council on Aging to participate. In New Orleans, seniors can contact Catholic Charities.
For a list of local farmers markets in your area, go to the LDAF website at www.ldaf.la.gov. For more information about the FMNP, go to the website or call 985-345-9483.