The event recognizes the 105 farmers markets across the state that have continued to provide citizens with access to fresh, local produce and other Maryland-made items. Residents are encouraged to celebrate Maryland Farmers’ Market Week by visiting a nearby market and buying local products. A nearby market can be found via the 2021 Maryland Farmers Market Directory.
“Amidst a global pandemic, Maryland farmers’ markets have worked tirelessly to remain open to provide nourishment for those they serve,” said Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “Farmers’ markets continue to provide unparalleled access to fresh, local goods and products. This week and beyond, let’s show our appreciation for Maryland growers and producers by buying fresh produce and other items at a local market.“
In Maryland, there is at least one farmers’ market in every county and Baltimore City. Each market is an important economic driver for the state’s agriculture industry. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture census data, farmers’ markets generate $2.4 billion dollars in sales for American farmers.
Farmers who sell directly to consumers are more likely to stay in business and grow their operations. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, local food systems generate 13 farm operator jobs per $1 million in sales, compared to only three jobs for those that do not sell locally. Therefore, buying locally is not just beneficial for Maryland growers and producers, it is good for the entire community.
Hundreds of Maryland farmers and producers participate annually in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for Women, Infants, Children (WIC) and Seniors. Over half of all Maryland markets also participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps. MDA also provides an annual grant of $100,000 to organizations that provide matching dollars to these federal nutrition programs at farmers markets. These programs help expand access for low-income Marylanders to be able to purchase fresh produce at Maryland farmers’ markets. A recent study found that for every $1 of nutrition incentives spent on farm direct purchases, an estimated $3 is contributed back to the U.S. economy.
Some statistics about Maryland farmers markets:
- Number of Maryland Department of Agriculture Recognized Farmers’ Markets: 105
- Number of markets with FMNP farmers: 97
- Number of markets with farmers who accept SNAP: 57
- Number of markets with farmers that accept electronic WIC benefits: 29
Maryland Farmers’ Market Week coincides with National Farmers’ Market Week and is fresh off the heels of Maryland Buy Local Week (July 17-25). The department hopes that Marylanders keep the spirit of Maryland Buy Local Week going by supporting Maryland farmers’ markets from Aug. 1-7. For ideas on meals to make with your farmers’ market purchases, please check out the Maryland WIC Farmers’ Market Cookbooks.
Join the celebration online and help promote National and Maryland Farmers’ Market Week by sharing your favorite farmers’ market photos on social media using the following hashtags: #MDFarmersMarket and #FarmersMarketWeek. Also, be sure to tag the Maryland Department of Agriculture (@MdAgDept) and Maryland’s Best (@MDsBest).
As the state continues to return to more normal operations, farmer’s market patrons are encouraged to check individual market websites and social media pages for the most current information on their hours and safety protocols. For more information on farmers’ markets in your area, visit Maryland’s Best or call 410-841-5770.