American Farmland Trust on Monday released vote counts revealing the five markets in every state that are leading in their America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest. The standings for each state are available at www.votemyfarmersmarket.org.
More than 7,000 markets across America are competing in American Farmland Trust's fourth annual contest that began in July and runs throughout the summer. The contest ends at midnight Eastern time on Sept. 3 when four winning markets—one small, one medium, one mid-sized, and one large—will receive the title of America's Favorite Farmers Market for 2012. The winning markets will be honored at local celebrations organized by American Farmland Trust. A certificate will also be awarded to the top vote-getters in each state.
The goal of the America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest is to promote the critical role that farmers markets play in keeping family farmers on the land.
"Our country has been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute, and that irreplaceable land is disappearing most rapidly in areas where our fruits and vegetables are grown," said American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl. "Farmers markets help combat this growing problem by strengthening family farms."
According to the contest rules, site visitors can vote for as many participating farmers markets as they choose, but can only vote for each market once. After submitting a vote, visitors have the opportunity to leave comments about why they value their local farmers markets.
"Our market is a great incubator for local food-based small businesses," wrote a voter from Ohio. According to a Washington voter, "There used to be dozens of dairy farms, now they're empty, abandoned fields or new suburban homes." A Tennessee voter commented, "Our farmers market was formed so farmers would have a place to sell their produce and thus be able to keep the farm."
In concert with American Farmland Trust's America's Favorite Farmers Market contest, farmers can submit an essay to win the Farmers Market Inspiration Award. The $1,000 prize will be awarded to a farmer showing the greatest dedication to his/market by the Farmers Market Coalition in partnership with Growing for Market magazine and American Farmland Trust. Farmer nominations will be accepted through August 11, 2012.
For more information about the America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest or to vote, visit www.votemyfarmersmarket.org.