The Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) kicks off National Farmers Market Week from August 1 through 7, 2021 with farmers markets across the state and country. Many of Michigan’s nearly 250 farmers markets will be hosting special events, activities and more to celebrate farmers and vendors, and express appreciation for volunteers and shoppers.
In the midst of a global pandemic, farmers markets — like all other small businesses — have innovated to continue operations for the farmers and communities that depend on them. Market managers have been at the forefront of adapting rapid solutions and innovating to protect staff, customers and the community. When conventional food supply chains faltered at the start of the pandemic, farmers markets and local food systems clearly displayed the resiliency of short supply chains and interest in local foods spiked nationwide.
“2020 was not an easy year, but we know farmers, market managers, and MIFMA staff and board members are no strangers to hard work and overcoming challenges,” said Amanda Shreve, executive director of MIFMA. “As we celebrate 2021’s National Farmers Market Week, we’ve already seen the strength, resiliency and hope we share as a farmers market community, and know our markets will continue to positively impact their communities long beyond this week.”
In 2020 and continuing into the 2021 market season, Michigan markets adapted to keep customers safe, with more than 250+ market managers, volunteers, vendors, and others participating in COVID-19 town hall webinars hosted by MIFMA. The town halls were just one example of the ways MIFMA staff helped markets respond to the pandemic and keep shoppers and vendors safe, totaling more than 550 hours of COVID response staff time invested. Now, farmers markets are honoring another year of building resilience in their communities and bringing people together.
National Farmers Market Week is an annual celebration of farmers markets recognized by the Farmers Market Coalition, with Michigan efforts supported by MIFMA. This year, National Farmers Market Week celebrations focus on the essential role farmers markets play in our local food systems and in developing local resilience in communities as hubs for connection.
“From The Marquette Commons to Eastern Market, farmers markets across the state are bringing our communities together, building local economies, and putting food on the table for Michigan families,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “During this pandemic, Michigan farmers markets adapted quickly to remain safe and open, and more markets offered Double Up Bucks so families in need could buy more healthy fruits and vegetables. As Chairwoman of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, I’ll continue leading efforts to make sure our farmers markets have the resources they need to succeed.”
In Michigan, nearly 250 farmers markets serve their communities by increasing food access, often in areas where grocery options are scarce, and by supporting small businesses. In 2020 alone, 152 markets accepted SNAP Bridge Cards including 25 new sites, generating more than $1 million annually in farm revenue and creating access to nutritious fruits and vegetables for Michigan’s most vulnerable families.
“Farmers markets are a critical component of Michigan’s agricultural economy,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell. “Demand for Michigan’s food and agricultural products has never been greater, and markets provide an opportunity for consumers to connect directly with those products, while supporting our state’s small businesses. The economic and community impacts are worth celebrating.”
As MDARD celebrates the 100th anniversary of the department’s founding, markets such as the Eastern Market in Detroit and the Kalamazoo Farmers Market share a century or more of history in their communities, while the greater farmers market community continues to grow and support Michigan residents and visitors.
“When we look at the new and growing roles our markets play in increasing food access, creating inclusive spaces for vendors and shoppers, and providing a place where communities can begin to safely reconnect, we certainly have much to celebrate,” said Shreve. “Michigan has long had a vibrant farmers market and agricultural community. National Farmers Market Week is one way to recognize and thank all those who come together around our state to manage and support markets.”
Want to visit a farmers market during National Farmers Market Week? MIFMA’s Find a Market tool helps shoppers search their local markets for days, times and locations to join in celebrating National Farmers Market Week, available at mifma.org.