Baker-Polito Administration Proclaims August 6 – 12, 2017 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week
BOSTON – In recognition of the positive contributions of Massachusetts’ farmers’ markets to agriculture and public health, Governor Charlie Baker has proclaimed August 6-12, 2017 “Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week.” The weeklong event coincides with the 18th National Farmers’ Market Week as the United States Department of Agriculture celebrates the nation’s farmers’ markets.
“This week, and all season long, we are proud to celebrate Massachusetts many farmers’ markets and support the continued viability of family farms, local food production and community camaraderie,” said Governor Charles Baker. “I encourage all Massachusetts residents to visit a farmers’ market and purchase fresh Massachusetts-grown products to support your local farmers.”
“As we enter the Commonwealth’s peak harvest season, this is an ideal time to recognize our local farmers’ markets,” said Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito. “Farmers’ markets are an important opportunity for Massachusetts residents to interact and support their local farmers.”
Massachusetts hosts approximately 240 summer and fall farmers’ markets and another 40 winter farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth. At nearly $48 million, Massachusetts ranks 5th in the nation for direct market sales and 3rd in the nation for direct market sales per operation. Direct market sales account for 10 percent of the state’s total sales of agricultural products.
“Farmers’ markets are an important direct market venue for growers and food producers across the Commonwealth and help to stimulate local economies,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton. “By supporting farmers’ markets, the Baker-Polito Administration hopes to continue to support family farms and increase access to fresh, health food to all Massachusetts residents.”
Farmers’ markets provide access to fresh, healthy foods to all citizens of the Commonwealth. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of farmers’ markets accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, with 164 farmers markets’ now accepting SNAP benefits. The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), launched in April, matches SNAP recipients’ purchases of local fruits and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets.
“Farmers’ markets serve as a way for farmers to market their products and meet the growing consumer demand for locally produced food,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Through the ‘Mass Grown and Fresher’ interactive map available on our website, consumers are able to search for a wide range of agricultural products and activities in addition to farmers’ markets to connect them with local growers and producers.”
In celebration of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week, Commissioner Lebeaux visited Beaver Brook Farmers Market in Worcester, Central Square Farmers Market at in Cambridge and South Boston Farmers’ Market. Commissioner Lebeaux also presented a “Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week” proclamation from Governor Baker to the market managers to show appreciation for their dedication to farmers and increasing local food access in their cities.
“Farmers markets are a wonderful way for the Commonwealth to support our historic farms,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “My district contains some wonderful farms and to see the fruit of their labor at the market is always makes my day. I am delighted that the Governor has proclaimed Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week.”
“I am honored to represent a district with wonderful farmers markets, such as the Central Square Farmers Market in Cambridge and the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville,” said State Representative Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge). “I am also proud to support the Farmers Market Coupon Program because it helps working families eat healthy while supporting local farms. It is my hope we continue to address food insecurity by supporting these programs in Cambridge and Somerville, and across the Commonwealth.”
MDAR compiles an annual list of Massachusetts farmers’ markets, listing days, locations, times, and opening and closing dates for each market. An interactive map of farmers’ markets statewide is available here.