Pictured: A farmers Market in West Allis, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation and Community Services Department.
Farmers markets provide opportunities for park and recreation professionals to increase community access to locally grown food at their park and recreation sites. As trusted providers of accessible health and wellness opportunities, park and recreation agencies are well-suited to host and promote farmers markets in their communities. In 2021, 21 percent of park and recreation agencies reported that they administer or manage farmers markets. Nearly half of park and recreation agencies manage the farmers markets on their properties, and the other half partner with a separate organization/department to operate the farmers market in parks and recreation spaces.
Whether your agency supports a farmers market or not, all park and recreation agencies serve as Community Wellness Hubs and can increase food access by connecting community members to their local farmers market.
August 7-13 is National Farmers Market Week
Now in its 23rd year, National Farmers Market Week (NFMW) is an annual celebration hosted by the Farmers Market Coalition that highlights the vital role farmers markets play in the national food system. NFMW celebrations present a unique opportunity to showcase the value of farmers markets to market customers, park and recreation visitors, community members, local leaders and legislators.
Each year, the Farmers Market Coalition provides market operators and organizations with free tools, guides and marketing materials for implementing their own NFMW messaging campaign. The resources in this toolkit are designed to help organizers:
- Generate national and local excitement for NFMW;
- Promote their local markets and vendors as well as the benefits of farmers markets nationally; and
- Advocate for farmers markets at the local, state and federal level.
The NFMW Toolkit includes resources, templates and tools for farmers markets to advocate and promote their market during National Farmers Market Week. If you do not have a farmers market at your park and recreation site, this is a great time to connect with your local farmers market and foster a fruitful partnership for cross-promotion!
Pictured left: A farmers market in Vivian, Louisiana. Photo courtesy of Town of Vivian.
Here are six ways to get involved with your local farmers market during NFMW:
- Share information about your local farmers market through social media, newsletters, flyers and programming.
- Advertise NFMW in park and recreation sites and encourage community members to visit the market.
- Inform community members that they may be able to use nutrition benefits like SNAP, WIC and Senior Food Vouchers at many neighboring farmers markets (check which benefits your local market accepts). And, many markets offer double-dollar matching programs for SNAP EBT use!
- Attend market day during NFMW to offer activities, games and educational information from your agency to community members.
- Host a table at the market during NFMW to share community programs and resources offered by parks and recreation.
- Sponsor your market’s NFMW event with park and recreation swag that will encourage people to enjoy local parks and recreation while they enjoy local food.
Whether your agency hosts farmers markets or not, everyone can promote National Farmers Market Week by encouraging community members to walk, bike or roll to a farmers market for whole-body nourishment.
Liliana Ruiz Fischer (she/her) is an NRPA program manager.