National Farmers Market Week is August 2-8. In celebration, Community Farmers Market in Chehalis is enlisting Ms. Lewis County and friends to pass out free recipe cards and read the county proclamation recognizing the work of farmers markets on Tuesday, August 4 starting at 11 am. A drawing for a basket containing over $40 of vendor goods will also be available that day.
Farmers markets are more than just an outlet for fresh produce and friendly farmers. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, these grassroots venues have increased in number by over 60% since 2009 to nearly 8,500 today. These markets preserve farmland, stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh nutritious food, improve community health, and promote sustainability. For example, growers selling locally create thirteen full time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned while those that do not sell locally only create three. The Farmers Market Coalition recently released a series of fact sheets detailing the many other impacts of markets. Washington State is home to over 125 farmers markets.
The Community Farmers Market in Chehalis began in 2005, and currently has 23 farmers selling a wide variety of products, including emu oil, cut flowers, goat's milk soap, dried flower bouquets, eggs, honey, cheese, plants and trees. In the most recent season, Community Farmers Market generated $130,000 for these local producers, a valuable economic boost for the region.
In downtown Chehalis the Community Farmers Market has been running since the start of June and will continue through late October. The market is open every Tuesday from 11 am to 4 pm. And you can see what is available at www.communityfarmersmarket.net.
"National Farmers Market Week is a great opportunity to spread the word about the impact farmers markets are making in Lewis County, Washington State, and nationally. We are promoting healthy community, increasing access to fresh food, stimulating the local economy, promoting sustainability, and preserving farmland and rural livelihoods. For the average person though, it's a fun and festive atmosphere, making a typical chore of grocery shopping into a fun and interactive experience. "
The Community Farmers Market in Chehalis also accepts SNAP/EBT, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks. Their farmers also donated over 500 pounds of produce to the Lewis County Gospel Mission last season.
"Farmers markets play a vital role in forming healthy, local food systems," says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. "By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture, sharing recipes, and exposing them to new foods. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier."