By MATT GILBRIDE
Davidson Farmer’s Market
Every day this summer, communities are converging to celebrate a simple miracle: Farmers, as stewards of rural America, coming together to share a harvest that’s feeding local families. The result? More viable regional economies; increased access to fresh, nutritious food; and stronger social networks that help keep communities strong.
United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed Aug. 7-13, 2011 as National Farmers Market Week. This year marks the 12th annual celebration, and comes at a time when farmer’s market at multiplying nationwide.
Since 2000, the number of farmers markets has grown 150 percent, from 2,863 markets to 7,175 in 2011. These numbers continue to rise as farmers markets become fresh food mainstays for shoppers across all socio-economic, political, and ethnic ranges. Farmers markets bolster local economies, improve community health, and bring diverse groups of people together through a shared social space. North Carolina is home to 77 farmers markets.
The Davidson Farmer’s Market began in spring of 2007, and currently has 35 farmers selling a wide variety of products year round. In the most recent season, Davidson Farmer’s Market generated close to $300,000 dollars for these local producers, a valuable economic boost for the region.
“We are in our second year as a year-round market,” says Davidson market manager Courtney Spear. “Attendance has increased this year; almost topping at 1,000 customers on July 4 weekend. And the winter market shoppers more than doubled in size.
“One of our main goals as a market is to increase SNAP participation (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Ada Jenkins helps educate and drive community folks to the Market, but we are working at outreach and finding other ways to encourage Market shopping and spreading the word. Fresh, nutrient packed foods are easily accessible. This is a very important message to communicate,” Ms. Spear said.
Stacy Miller, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition, says: “Farmers markets grow healthy farms, healthy people, and healthy communities.”
“During a slow economic recovery, farmers markets are stand-out successes in delivering triple bottom line benefits while making entrepreneurship work in communities large and small. During Farmers Market Week, we invite everyone to celebrate their local farmers markets and enjoy fresh local food from America’s most innovative farmers.”
ABOUT DAVIDSON FARMER’S MARKET
The Davidson Farmer’s Market, Inc. is a year-round, producer-only market located next to Davidson Town Hall between Main and Jackson Streets. The Market operates every Saturday from 8:00 am – Noon in April through October and bi-weekly in November through March. The support of the following sponsors make the 2011 season of the Davidson Farmer’s Market possible: DavidsonNews.net, Wooden Stone Gallery, FlatIron Kitchen + Taphouse, MI-Connection, JJ Wade Agency, Davidson Lands Conservancy, Lake Norman Realty, John Marshall Custom Homes, Little fish Marketing, McIntosh Law Firm, Edmund Morgan Massage School, Mayes, Wilson and Associates, Campagnia Café, Lake Norman Embroidery and Screen Printing, Cocoon Salon, Bragg Financial, Home Careolina, North Carolina Medical Specialists Prudential Carolinas/Mary Lib Richards and Julie Lopez, Lake Norman YMCA, Davidson Family Medicine, The Cycle Path, Main Street Books, Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, ‘Cats on Main, Baybridge Management, Ingersoll Rand, PostNet Davidson, Downtown Davidson, Inc., Davidson Village Inn, Davidson Chocolate Company, Our Town Cinemas, PiEs – Project for Innovation, Energy and Sustainability, Sandy and Rex Kragh and Family, Know Your Farms, LLC, Triple Play Farm, The Stewart Group, Smarthinking PR and The Village Store. For more information, visit www.davidsonfarmersmarket.org.