New Report Shows Park and Recreation Agencies Play Critical Role in Bringing Farmers Markets to Communities

(June 13, 2019)

Park and rec agencies are ideal partners to increase community access to healthy foods

Ashburn, Va. (June 13, 2019) — A new report issued by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Farmers Markets—Parks and Recreation Connecting Communities to Healthy Foods, highlights the vital role park and recreation agencies play in bringing farmers markets to their communities. This report examines markets’ product and services offerings—spanning from fresh produce and protein to entertainment and educational programming, as well as the organizations that agencies partner with to make their markets successful.

Key report findings include:

  • 24 percent of park and recreation farmers markets operate throughout the year
  • Four in five agencies work with partners—such as, local nonprofits, farmers and local extension office—to make their farmers markets successful
  • Farmers market offerings include fresh fruit/vegetables, baked goods and organic foods. Farmers markets may be the only source for fresh produce and healthy proteins in underserved communities
  • Two-thirds of park and recreation farmers markets accept supplemental nutrition benefit payments (e.g., SNAP)

In many communities, local park and recreation agencies play significant roles in supporting farmers markets and bringing markets to their communities. Park and recreation agencies are well-suited to leverage their role as trusted providers of health and wellness opportunities. Agencies often partner in efforts to expand local agriculture initiatives in communities.

“The benefits of farmers markets are substantial, and park and recreation agencies are ideal partners in these efforts,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of professional development, research and technology. “Park and rec hosted farmers markets provide critical opportunities to connect people to healthy foods, especially for underserved community members.”

In September 2018, NRPA released polling results from its monthly Park Pulse survey when 1000 Americans were asked, “How important, if at all, is it to you and your family that you have access to locally grown fresh produce?” Eighty-seven percent of Americans believe access to locally grown fresh produce — including farmers markets and fruit and vegetable stands — is important. For more results from this survey, click here.

To view the Farmers Market report, tables and corresponding infographic, visit   

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit