This week marked the end of American Farmland Trust’s summer-long Farmers Market Celebration — an annual effort to rally support for local farms and family farmers by calling on shoppers to identify the best of America’s farmers markets, During the summer-long voting, the Sitka Farmers Market was rated top 50 best in class nationwide and/or top three in Alaska.
“Farmers markets are critical for new and beginning farmers,” says Susan Sink, American Farmland Trust’s Vice President of Development and External Relations. “Next generation farmers selling directly to consumers at farmers markets have nearly a 10 percent greater chance of staying in business than those selling goods through traditional retail. And when family farmers thrive – our community, economy and families thrive.”
This year’s Celebration encouraged market customers, family farmers, community members – anyone who believed they had the best farmers market in the country – to endorse their market in four unique areas: Focus on Farmers, Healthy Food for All, Pillar of the Community and Champion for the Environment.
The Sitka Farmers Market’s national rankings are:
- People’s Choice: 57th nationally, second in Alaska
- Focus on Farmers: 55th nationally, second in Alaska
- Healthy Food for All: 55th nationally, second in Alaska
- Pillar of the Community: 52nd nationally, second in Alaska
- Champion for the Environment: 50th nationally, second in Alaska
“While farmers markets have been growing in popularity, keeping family farmers on farmland remains a nationwide challenge,” Sink says. “Many family farmers struggle to stay financially afloat and face daily pressure from development to sell their land. Farmers markets provide a wonderful opportunity for family farmers to sell directly to consumers and keep their farmland in farming.”
The United States has been losing more than 40 acres of farmland per hour to development. Farms closest to America’s cities—often the providers of the delicious local food found at farmers markets—are directly in the path of that destruction. American Farmland Trust has helped slow this trend over the last 35 years by permanently protecting over five million acres of fertile farmland and contributing to conservation improvements on millions more.
To visit the full list of top rated markets nationwide, visit http://www.lovemyfarmersmarket.org today.