By: Emily Chin, Intern, University of Southern California Date: 7/11/11
Catherine Metzger, Dietetic Intern, Penn State University
Kay Sisk, Dietetic Intern, Case Western Reserve University
Friday, June 3rd marked opening day for the 16th Annual USDA Farmers Market in Washington, DC. The market, held every Friday through November 18th, features locally grown produce, herbs, baked goods, and other products from farmers and vendors in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The market also hosts live music and special guests throughout the season, and a cooking demonstration that takes place on the first Friday of each month.
USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack rang the bell to kick off the farmers market season. In his opening remarks, Secretary Vilsack noted that the market is an “opportunity to celebrate community” and provide access to seasonal produce for people who work or live nearby. He also recognized the opportunity that thousands of farmers markets across the country have to help rebuild rural economies and feature local and regional food items. In addition, Secretary Vilsack acknowledged the opportunity that seasonal produce provides to fill half of our plates with fruits and vegetables, one of the key messages of USDA’s new MyPlate food icon.
Several vendors are completing requirements to accept coupons and vouchers from participants in federally funded nutrition assistance programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). Coupons and vouchers allow participants in these programs to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey.
Bringing the Garden to the City
After Secretary Vilsack rang the bell to open the farmers market season, he cut the ribbon on DC’s first-ever truck farm. Planted in the back of pick-up truck, this mini-garden is part of the Truck Farm Project, a mobile education initiative that came from a partnership between the DC Central Kitchen and USDA’s People’s Garden. The truck farm will travel throughout DC this summer, teaching children the importance of farming and where our food comes from. Lessons will focus on nutrition education, gardening, and the many unique ways to grow food. Residents and visitors to the DC area can visit the truck farm every Friday this summer at the USDA Farmers Market.
Finding a Farmers Market Near You
Residents and visitors in the Washington, DC area can visit the USDA Farmers Market on Fridays through November 18th from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The market is located in the USDA parking lot at the corner of 12th Street and Independence Avenue, SW. Don’t live in the DC area? Find a farmers market near you!
Visit foodinsight.org to learn more about common food production practices and their unique contributions to the food supply and ways to incorporate your farmers market purchases into healthful recipes!