August 7, 2019
CELEBRATE CONNECTICUT GROWN PRODUCTS DURING NATIONAL FARMERS MARKET WEEK
Bureau of Agricultural Development and Resource Conservation
Connecticut will join other states across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 4 to 10, 2019. Farmers’ market week showcases the efforts of more than 110 farmers’ markets in Connecticut and the important role they play in our food system and stimulating our local economy.
“Connecticut is home to over a hundred farmers’ markets that offer our state’s residents a wide variety of affordable nutritious, locally-grown produce,” said Governor Ned Lamont. “An asset to Connecticut’s agricultural economy, I encourage everyone to support their local farmers’ market and enjoy the best of what our state has to offer.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of National Farmers Market Week.
“With over a hundred farmers’ markets to visit and thousands of locally grown products to choose from, supporting your local farmers’ market is a smart and easy way to help sustain and grow Connecticut’s food economy and to ensure that seniors and low-income families continue to have access to healthy food sources,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
Farmers’ markets are community-based events held on a regular basis, usually weekly, featuring Connecticut Grown farm products, agriculture and local food. Farmers’ markets also play an important role in preserving farmland, strengthening the relationship between urban and rural communities and connecting consumers with the hard-working farm families who produce the food they eat.
“Farmers’ markets are crucial to increasing access to fresh, healthy food in our communities that need it most,” said Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DoAg) Commissioner, Bryan P. Hurlburt. “They also provide opportunities for our new and beginning farmers to market their products while bridging the gap between consumers and producers of where our food comes from and how it’s produced.”
Millions of American families in low-income neighborhoods face a daily struggle to afford and access fresh fruits and vegetables. DoAg administers the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) which serves participants of Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) and seniors who are over the age of 60 and meet eligibility guidelines, with checks to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey (seniors only). Funding for the FMNP program is through both state and federal allocations totaling more than $416,000 for WIC and more than $423,000 for seniors.
Nearly 200 municipal and private senior services organizations enable FMNP to be available at over 350 distribution sites throughout Connecticut. In 2018, the WIC program provided 14,298 households, including nearly 34,000 children, access to fresh, nutritious Connecticut Grown fruits and vegetables. Through promotional efforts, WIC redemption rates have steadily increased, rising 8% since 2015. More than 26,000 seniors, or 63.5% of eligible participants, redeemed their checks at an authorized farmers’ market, farm stand or mobile market.
Along with the FMNP program, 35 farmers’ markets are authorized to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, many of which offer doubling programs allowing recipients to purchase more fresh, local produce to keep their families healthy.
As mid-summer approaches, Connecticut farmers are busy harvesting a wide array of fruits and vegetables as they near peak production. By purchasing direct from the farmer, consumers can be assured that 100% of their food dollar is going directly to their local producer, allowing them to build and grow a successful business.
Connecticut has 300 farmers certified to sell at the 108 authorized farmers’ markets and farm stands located throughout the state. During National Farmers Market Week, many markets have planned special events.
Locate a farmers’ market near you and support Connecticut producers by visiting www.CTGrown.gov/farmersmarkets and follow our Facebook page for updates and special events throughout the week.