Farmers’ Markets Still Growing

Over 100 Locations Now In Five Boroughs

Since the 1970s, the number of farmers’ markets has grown significantly in New York City and throughout the state as the popularity of locally-grown produce and locally-made products has increased, according to a report released by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli as part of a celebration of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Farmers Market week.

“Farmers’ markets boost local economies and promote a healthy and sustainable food system,” Di- Napoli said. “New York is home to over 500 farmers’ markets, more than double the number since 2000, and there are no signs of a slowdown. These markets enhance communities and the lives of those who live nearby.”

The USDA recently announced that there were 7,864 farmers’ markets nationwide, up from 2,863 in 2000. The number of farmers’ markets in New York has increased from 235 in 2000 to 521 as of August 2012, according to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

New York City is home to 138 farmers’ markets, with 48 located in Brooklyn, 39 in Manhattan, 32 in the Bronx, 17 in Queens and two in Staten Island

Regional farms are among the primary beneficiaries of the increase in farmers’ markets, with 20 percent of all New York farms engaging in direct-to-consumer sales in 2009.

The value of direct-to-consumer sales in New York reached $362 mil- lion in 2009, up 57.4 percent since 2000.

Of the 262 farmers working at the 93 farmers’ markets associated with GrowNYC, Just Food, or Harvest Home in New York City, 197 were located in New York State.

Both New York State and New York City have undertaken initiatives to increase access to farmers’ markets for low-income households. In 2011, more than 100 farmers’ markets in New York State accepted food stamps and New York’s farmers received $2.6 million in food stamp dollars from direct-to-consumer sales in that same year. Several programs at the city and state level to encourage low-income residents to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables have successfully distributed millions of dollars in aid.

“It’s exciting to see the number of farmers’ markets grow across the state and here in New York City,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “It’s also wonderful to have New York State as a partner in our efforts to expand access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting our upstate local farmers, making it a win-win for both city and state.”

“City Harvest is committed to supporting New York State farmers and we appreciate the significant contributions they make to the public food landscape,” said Matthew Reich, vice president of operations for City Harvest. “The region has an abundance of fresh produce and meats and City Harvest joins with New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in celebrating GrowNYC and Harvest Home who help make it possible for us to source locally grown foods to stock soup kitchens, food pantries and community centers in the five boroughs, ensuring that our constituents receive the highest quality and healthiest foods available.”

For a copy of the report visit www.osc.state.ny.us/osdc/farmersmarkets_ rpt6-2013.pdf.

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