Vote For Your Favorite Farmers Market

Cash Prizes Increase in Summer Farmers Market Contest

Susan Payne
By  Susan Payne , DTN Social Media and Young Farmer Editor
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(Photo Courtesy of American Farmland Trust)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Do you have a favorite farmers market? Have you gone every week and gotten to know the farmers by name and where they grow their food? Is your local farmers market something that brings joy and nostalgia to you and your family every summer?

If so, the American Farmland Trust (AFT) and the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) are giving the public an opportunity to rank the top farmers markets in the United States. The 15th annual America's Farmers Market Celebration (AFMC) is a fun competition that helps farmers markets across the country earn national recognition and local prestige.

While farmers markets have long served as pillars of local food in urban centers and town squares, in recent years, farmers markets have gained the national recognition they deserve as essential businesses that power farmers and help communities thrive.

This year, AFT has increased the total cash prizes to $15,000 and expanded the awards to cover the top five markets nationally: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Pacific regions. Through voting, AFMC also identifies the top markets in each state.

In a news release, John Piotti, American Farmland Trust president and CEO, stated, "In many regions, farmers markets have been vital to keeping existing farms in business, enabling new farms to get started, and creating jobs and opportunity in these communities. At AFT, we believe that every farmers market in America is special in its own way, helping to connect farmers to customers, customers to healthy food, and the community to the local food system."

The contest runs all summer from now until Sept. 18. First place wins $5,000, second wins $2,500, third wins $1,500, fourth wins $750, fifth wins $250, and the top farmers markets in each state win $100. In addition to the prize money, the top markets also receive national and local media coverage, complimentary of American Farmland Trust and Farmers Market Coalition membership, as well as "I Love My Farmers Market" stickers, No Farms No Food gear, a free one-year subscription to Farmers Market Metrics (…), and other surprises.

"Across the country, farmers markets are at the heart of their communities," Ben Feldman, executive director at Farmers Market Coalition, stated in the news release. "Through constant innovation and iteration, farmers markets are a driving force for positive chances at the individual, community, and societal level. If you care about farm viability, environmental stewardship, community engagement, or just want to eat the best fruits and vegetables around, farmers markets are the place for you. The Farmers Market Coalition is thrilled to continue our partnership with American Farmland Trust to support this celebration of farmers markets."

Last summer, Overland Park Farmers Market in Overland Park, Kansas, was recognized as the top farmers market in the nation.

"Overland Park Farmers Market had the honor of being recognized as the No. 1 farmers market in the nation in 2022. The recognition elevated our market, on a national level, and contributed ... the best year our market has had in its 42 years of being open," stated Kristina Stanley, recreation supervisor for the Overland Park Farmers Market. "We became a destination that offered unique experiences and a hot spot for people to live, work and play. The Overland Park Farmers' Market is the focal point and heart of this vibrant and diverse neighborhood where all are welcome. And that is the greatest achievement in receiving this award."

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Susan Payne

Susan Payne
Connect with Susan: