Farmers’ markets across Minnesota will be celebrating National Farmers’ Market Week from August 6-12, 2023; a time when produce in the state is at its most abundant. The week will culminate in a public event on Saturday, August 12, at the Winona Farmers’ Market in honor of its 50th anniversary.
“Farmers’ markets play a vital role in Minnesota’s local food system, helping connect consumers with fresh, local, and nutritious foods in their communities,” said Minnesota Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey. “The Minnesota Department of Agriculture thanks those who make these markets possible, and we look forward to celebrating their hard work and contributions during National Farmers’ Market Week.”
Activities at the Winona celebration event will include shopping at over 30 market vendors, live music, arts activities for all ages by River Arts Alliance, a cooking demonstration by Inga Witscher of “Around the Farm Table” at 10 a.m., and presentations from dignitaries beginning at 10:30 a.m. Throughout the week, a social media photo contest will spotlight the farmers, vendors, and marketgoers that make up the vibrant market community.
The theme of this year’s event is “Farmers’ markets are leading the way! Community, Culture, Land.” Agriculture is a foundation of Minnesota's economy, and a record number of 375 farmers’ markets are currently located in all corners of the state.
“During National Farmers' Market Week, we take the opportunity to celebrate and extend our heartfelt appreciation to the exceptional individuals who drive the success of farmers' markets — from the dedicated farmers, food entrepreneurs, crafters, and market organizers to the unwavering support of our loyal customers,” said Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association Executive Director Kathy Zeman. “In Minnesota, farmers' markets proudly lead the way in strengthening the local foodshed, sustainable land practices, and fostering a strong sense of community. These markets are not just about transactions; they are about cultivating meaningful relationships between farmers and customers, nurturing a thriving local food ecosystem, fostering connections among friends and new acquaintances, and ensuring that everyone has access to wholesome, locally grown food."
Sandy Dietz of Whitewater Gardens Farm in Altura, Minnesota, is a vendor at the Winona Farmers’ Market and a farmer member of Land Stewardship Project. She says, "Farmers' markets are a crucial part of our community and supporting our local farmers. For many, these markets are our main source of income, and they are an important way to get fresh, healthy food to our communities and support a resilient food system."
“Farmers’ markets are important community assets. When you shop at a farmers’ market, you are not only supporting family farmers who live in your community, but you’re also supporting your community by keeping dollars local,” said Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish. “In addition, food bought directly from farmers is fresher and tastes better.”
National Farmers’ Market Week is a yearly celebration sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which highlights the value markets bring to communities and the important role they play in the U.S. food system. Each year, farmers’ markets across Minnesota participate in the event by creating their own independent celebrations. This event is being presented in partnership by the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association, Minnesota Grown, Minnesota Farmers Union, and Land Stewardship Project.
About the Winona Farmers’ Market:
The Winona Farmers’ Market is a local organization that invites producers of homegrown fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, herbal medicine, eggs, honey, syrups, dairy products, baked goods, meats, flowers, bedding, and house plants to come together with local residents to share in the bounty of our beautiful region. Our goal is to provide fresh, quality local products for our customers; to provide a local site for producers to sell their products; to educate our customers on healthy eating; and to provide freshly harvested produce at prices everyone can afford.
About the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association:
The Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association (MFMA) provides services, programs, and leadership that support and promote farmers’ markets across Minnesota. The organization works to foster a community of vibrant, profitable, and professionally managed Minnesota farmers’ markets that cultivate, nourish, and inspire a vibrant local foods landscape. The MFMA vision is to create greater accessibility to local, farm-fresh foods and to allow opportunities for local food producers to thrive and grow. Find their statewide map of markets at www.mfma.org.
About Minnesota Grown:
Minnesota Grown is a program of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to promote products grown and raised in Minnesota. The program has connected consumers with local farmers, farmers’ markets, and other producers of agricultural products near them for over 35 years. The Minnesota Grown Directory at minnesotagrown.com is a searchable map of over 1,000 local farms, markets, and producers all across the state. The program also licenses the use of the Minnesota Grown label to Minnesota producers and retailers. Anywhere you see the Minnesota Grown logo, you can have confidence that product was grown or raised within the state. Find local near you in our directory of over 1,000 farms and markets at minnesotagrown.com.
About Minnesota Farmers Union:
Minnesota Farmers Union works to protect and enhance the economic interests and quality of life of family farmers and ranchers and rural communities. MFU is a nonprofit membership-based organization. Membership is open to everyone. Learn more and join at www.mfu.org, and follow MFU on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Land Steward Ship Project:
The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) is a grassroots nonprofit organization founded in 1982 to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture, and to develop healthy communities. LSP is dedicated to creating transformational change in our food and farming system. LSP’s work has a broad and deep impact, from new farmer training and local organizing, to federal policy and community-based food systems development. At the core of all our work are the values of stewardship, justice, health, community, and democracy.
Logan Schumacher, MDA Communications