Farmers Market at the Capitol Supports Local Economy

Today’s Farmers Market at the Capitol, held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the East Lawn of the Capitol Building in Lansing, put the spotlight on local agriculture and food businesses.

More than 65 vendors from Holland to Bad Axe to Sault Ste. Marie, gathered to highlight Michigan’s agrifood industry, selling a huge diversity of products, including seasonal fruit and vegetables, cut flowers and potted plants, spices and herbs, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, meat and fish, cheese, nuts, soap and much more. These products are only a sampling of the more than 300 agricultural commodities that Michigan produces. See a list and map of vendors

“Agriculture and food businesses are growing in Michigan, and buying locally at the farmers market not only supports those businesses but helps keep money circulating here in Michigan, which is good for the economy and local communities,” said Dru Montri, Director of the Michigan Farmers Market Association who hosts these special markets.

The food and agriculture industry in Michigan contributes $91.4 billion annually to the state’s economy, an increase of more than 50 percent from 2004 to 2010. While the largest numbers can be attributed to the wholesale and retail distribution portion of the supply chain, the largest percentage of growth is from farming. Many of those farms are tapping into the growing network of farmers markets across the state.

This year’s Farmers Markets at the Capitol also accepted SNAP Bridge Cards, along with Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project FRESH and Market FRESH, thanks to a partnership with the Bath Farmers Market. All of these programs help put more fresh foods, especially fruit and vegetables, onto the plates of low-income families. Currently, 130 of Michigan’s more than 310 farmers markets accept SNAP Bridge Cards, increasing local food access statewide.

The next Farmers Market at the Capitol will be held on Thursday, September 12, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.

This is the eighth year that a farmers market has been held on the Capitol lawn. This market was hosted by MIFMA, in partnership with Michigan Food and Farming Systems (MIFFS) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Sponsors for the event were Auto-Owners Insurance; the Lansing State Journal; the Michigan Fitness Foundation; W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural; Food and Community Ethics; Dr. Paul Thompson; GreenStone Farm Credit Services; Michigan State University (MSU) Center for Regional Food Systems; Advanced Insurance Markets; Fair Food Network; and MSU Federal Credit Union.

To find a full list of farmers markets in Michigan, including those that accept food assistance benefits, visit the MIFMA Web site at www.mifma.org and click “Find a Farmers Market”.