New information will be included in the 2010 USDA National Farmers Market Directory. This directory is the official count of the nation's farmers markets. Agriculture Marketing Service Administrator Rayne Pegg points out that farmers markets can be added to the directory by market managers, representatives of state farmers market associations, state departments of agriculture, farmers market personnel, and nonprofit organizations.
According to Pegg for the future of sound farmer market policies, it is critical to make the USDA National Farmers Market Directory as accurate as possible. USDA can't do it alone, and are asking for assistance in compiling this directory. Pegg says participating in the directory tells policymakers, legislators, and other stakeholders that farmers markets continue to be a strong growth industry across the United States.
Since the directory was first created in 1994, the number of farmers markets has tripled from 1,755 to 5,274. The directory captures information about where farmers markets operate, if they accept food assistance program vouchers and electronic benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Women Infants and Children Program, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and what types of products are being sold. This year, data will also be collected about the growing number of winter farmers markets.