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Farmers Markets Across the Country Vying for Title of America’s Favorite (PR)

For immediate Release
July 15, 2010

Contact: Jennifer Morrill, 202-378-1255
or jmorrill@farmland.org

AFT Reveals Vote Counters—
Farmers Markets Across the Country Vying
for Title of America’s Favorite
—Still Plenty of Time to Show Your Support!

Washington, D.C.—“Today we’re revealing the up-to-the-minute vote counters that show the five markets that are leading in each state. And you can vote and see the standings atwww.farmland.org/vote,” says Jane Kirchner, Senior Director of Marketing and Communication for American Farmland Trust (AFT). “As we saw in the first-year of America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest, anything can happen between now and August 31 when the on-line voting ends.”

Farmers markets in 49 states and the District of Columbia are competing in the AFT contest for the title of America’s Favorite Farmers Markets. The contest is designed to promote the value of farmers markets in communities, and to make the connection between fresh local foods and the local farms and farmland that supply them. Farmers markets play a critical role in keeping farmers on the land. Keeping farms viable, by providing them with a venue where they can provide their much sought after products is one of the best ways to save the land that sustains us.

“It’s not too late for markets to sign-up for the contest, especially since we have four size categories of markets.” Kirchner adds. “We encourage everyone to vote for all their favorite markets across the country. You can vote for any markets you like, but you are limited to one vote per market to make this a friendly competition.”

In addition, Kirchner notes that AFT has provided materials for customers and farmers markets managers to help promote the vote through a variety of mediums such as blogs, widgets and email. “Farmers markets are great places to find seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables; and at the same time, connect with farmers and friends.”

The 2007 U.S. Agricultural Census reports a 49 percent growth in sales from farms directly to consumers since 2002—representing $1.2 billon that stayed in local communities. But at the same time, over 800,000 acres of farmland have been developed each year – most around cities where there is the greatest demand for local food. “Here’s the connection: there’s no local food without local farms and farmland,” says Kirchner. “Consumers can make a real difference in the economic health of farmers and their communities by shopping at farmers markets, participating in CSA’s and buying direct from the farm. You are helping shape the future of agriculture in your community.”

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American Farmland Trust is the nation’s leading conservation organization dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranch land, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and supporting a sustainable future for farms. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT’s national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300.  For more information, visit www.farmland.org.