2013 Farmers Markets at the Capitol Bigger than Ever

For the eighth year in a row, the lawn of the Capitol Building in downtown Lansing has been home to two farmers markets. The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) with the help of partners Michigan Food and Farming Systems and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, hosted two successful events this year on Thursday, July 18 and Thursday, September 12.

These markets were a demonstration of all of the benefits that a farmers market can offer the surrounding community including generating economic activity, developing community and improving health. Michigan has over 300 farmers markets throughout the state that provide these benefits for their local community all season long.

This year, both markets included more than 65 food and farm vendors from across the state. Vendors travelled from as far away as Sault Ste. Marie to sell a variety of products from fresh and smoked fish to baked goods, sauces, jams, granola, kettle corn, soap and laundry products, salsas, honey, maple syrup and fresh fruit and vegetables.

This year, each market yielded more than $65,000 in vendor sales, including at least $650 worth of food assistance benefits that were redeemed at each market. The markets accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits distributed on the Michigan Bridge Card, Double Up Food Bucks and both WIC Project FRESH and Market FRESH for seniors as a means of increasing food access for low income individuals in the community.

Workers in downtown Lansing look forward to these events all year long! In July, over 7,500 shoppers attended the market and over 7,800 visited in September. Based on our market surveys, the number one reason shoppers came to the market was to support Michigan farmers and businesses.

Plans are already underway to make the 2014 Farmers Markets at the Capitol as much of a success as this year’s events! This fall and winter, members of MIFMA’s Policy Committee will gather with vendors and market stakeholders to discuss developing a mission for these markets, reviewing the market policies, and to consider expanding the markets to more than just twice each summer. If you would like to get involved, contact Amanda Shreve at amanda@mifma.org. Also be sure to watch the Event Calendar at www.mifma.org to see when the dates for next year’s markets are released!

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