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American Farmland Trust Announces Winners of the 12th Annual Farmers Market Celebration

Summer-long campaign recognizes America’s most essential markets in 2020 as voted by farmers market shoppers, awards cash prizes to winners 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, American Farmland Trust announces the winners of its 12th Annual Farmers Market Celebration – recognizing the leading market in each region of the country and awarding cash prizes to the winners of the “People’s Choice” awards for markets with the most endorsements nationwide. More than 1,250 markets participated in the celebration with the total number of votes up 350% over 2019demonstrating the critical role farmers markets have continued to play in feeding Americas throughout the COVID-19 crisis. 

When the coronavirus pandemic began back in March there was real concern that markets wouldn’t be able to operate at all this year. The vast majority of markets in America found a way to operate safely–whether that meant holding a drive-thru market or requiring shoppers to pre-order goods from their local farmers for pick-up. It has been truly inspiring to witness the way markets have served as a centerpiece of food access in their communities during the pandemic.  

This season has been one to remember and there’s no better way to thank the farm vendors and the market managers and staff for all their hard work than to provide them the recognition they deserve and a little help to defray the costs of this incredibly difficult season.  

People’s Choice Winners 

Clarksville Downtown Market, Clarksville, TN – Awarded $1000 

Charlottesville City Market, Charlottesville, VA — Awarded $500 

Boise Farmers Market, Boise, Idaho — Awarded $250 

Clarksville Parks and Recreation is proud to play a part in the success of the Downtown Market. From Marketing to Maintenance, our entire staff pitches in to make it the best place to be on a Saturday morning.”  - Jennifer Letourneau, Clarksville Parks & Recreation Director.   

Charlottesville City Market – “This year has been very challenging for farmers markets across the nation. We have had to make substantial changes to adapt to the novel coronavirus pandemic. We transitioned to a pre-order and pick-up market and have had to move our location 3 separate times to accommodate the market so that our valuable farmers and small businesses have a place to sell and our community have a safe place to enjoy healthy local produce. While the change has meant a reduction in the amount of vendors we are able to host we are happy that we have been able to host many of our farmers. We want to thank our loyal customers and vendors for their support during these trying times.” – Justin McKenzie, City Market Manager

The Boise Farmers Market is a true gem. They not only connect people with the farmers that provide our food, but they’ve created community, particularly important during these times. The Market has been a true partner during COVID and I’m so proud of their innovative ways to continue connecting our residents with healthy and fresh food, and the people behind that food,” said Boise Mayor Lauren McLean. 

The Boise Farmers Market has always provided me with a strong sense of community. This has only grown this year as I have seen many hands work together with the common goal of supporting local food.  As a farmer and a board member, I am proud to be a part of the Boise Farmer’s Market and its vision to make a positive impact in our region,” said Elayne Rayne, owner, Next Generation Organics & Boise Farmers Market Board president. 

Here’s what marketgoers had to say about the winning markets:

Clarksville Downtown Market 

This market is amazing!! Such a vast array of local farmers and artisans, there is something here for everyone. A great way to spend a Saturday morning with the family and friends.” 

“First, as a consumer, this market has been a blessing to shop at since it provides farm fresh, locally grown produce from farms I see as I travel in my town. Having all of this in one location and run with such great efficiency is the reason I would vote this as my favorite Farmer’s Market!  

Secondly, as a first-time vendor, this Market has been a boon to our growth and credibility. With such low overhead amid a fantastic venue, coupled with friendly and helpful staff, I couldn’t imagine running my business without participating every year. We have had such a great experience as both consumers and vendors. Way to go Clarksville!” 

Every time I go there is a great selection of local veggies, home made goods, and friendly people. It’s always a wonderful day to see all your friends and make new ones.” 

Charlottesville City Market 

The Charlottesville City Market is an incredible place! Many vendors with organic produce are available, along with many cheese producers as well. It is a place where International foods are available and some of the best bakery items in Charlottesville are available. The vendors are very friendly and love to chat with you. It is definitely a great community to be part of.” 

My experience with Charlottesville City Market has been one of the best of all the places where I get my groceries. I love it! 

Great place for folks with a car to get great local produce and products. Lots of choices. Always satisfied.” 

Boise Farmer’s Market 

“These folks pivoted on a dime due to COVID-19 in order to keep bring local grown, high quality food to their customers. These farmers are all essential workers!” 

Boise Farmers Market Drive-thru is the next best thing to being there! While I miss the ambience of the open-air market, the quality of the foods delivered to my car is outstanding and keeps me coming back week after week. The system for pick up usually works beautifully and efficiently! 

“Boise Farmer’s Market is an amazing group of farmers and food producers! It is well run by dedicated people to bring fresh, local produce to our area. They have handled this crazy time with efficiency and professionalism. We are lucky to have them here in Boise and support them totally.” 

Photos of winning markets.  

Regional Award Winners 

Northeast: Ligonier Country Market – Ligonier, PA 

Midwest: Tuscarawas Valley Market – Dover, Ohio 

Pacific: Boise Farmers Market – Boise Idaho 

Southeast: Clarksville Downtown Market – Clarksville, TN 

Southwest: Grand Prairie Farmers Market – Grand Prairie, TX

The pandemic made it clear that local food systems with short supply chains are resilient and dependable in making food available to their communities. When the crisis hit everyone had to scramble to accommodate the changing requirements to keep customers safe. Market operators were some of the first to implement innovative strategies to change their operations around public health protocols. What’s more, emerging research supports conventional wisdom that outdoor marketplaces are often safer than indoor retailers because there is air circulation, sunlight and the flexibility to enforce social distancing.   

For over a decade, American Farmland Trust’s Farmers Market Celebration has highlighted the important role famers markets play in communities across the nation. Long pillars of local food in urban centers and town squares, in the age of coronavirus, farmers markets have gained recognition as essential businesses ensuring farmers have venue to sell their goods and families have a place to access fresh, healthy food.  

In 2020 it has been become clear: America’s farmers markets are more important than ever.  

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American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms No Food® message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families. 

About the Author
Lori Sallet

Media Relations Director

lsallet@farmland.org

(410) 708-5940

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