"More than 90,000 people from across the country voted for their favorite farmers markets this summer," says Jane Kirchner, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for American Farmland Trust. "And in the last three weeks of the promotion, we've seen the top 20 markets in each category change positions, sometimes daily."
American Farmland Trust designed the online contest to promote the economic and social value of farmers markets in communities, and to bring attention to the need for consumers and communities to recognize the necessity of local farm and ranchland to grow fresh, healthy and local food.
"Customers can visit our website and learn the top 20 markets in each of contest's four market categories," adds Kirchner. The top markets for each category are:
Boutique Markets (15 or fewer vendors):
North Port Farmers & Craft Market, North Port, Florida
Small Markets (16-30 vendors):
City of Rockford Farmers Market, Rockford, Michigan
Medium Markets (31-55 vendors):
Historic Lewes Farmers Market, Lewes, Delaware
Large Markets (56 or more vendors):
Las Cruces Farmers & Crafts Market, Las Cruces, New Mexico
The top four markets will each receive a shipment of personalized No Farms No Food® recyclable tote bags, along with other prizes including free promotional materials from FrontEnd Graphics. The top four markets will also be featured on the award-winning food website Epicurious.com.
"The America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest is not about being the best, it is about celebrating the unique qualities of farmers markets everywhere and to help increase awareness of the importance of supporting farmers economically and saving farmland." says Kirchner. "We hope that all of the markets have seen increased interest in, and visitors to their markets as a result of the promotion, and that they will participate in next year's contest."
In addition, the top 20 farmers markets overall in each state will be recognized and receive a prize package including a certificate and "I Support My Farmers Market" promotional stickers from contest sponsor Websticker.com. The listings of the top 20 favorite farmers markets by state, and the category winners can be found on the contest website at www.farmland.org/vote.
"Supporting local farmers is a fun and fulfilling way to help save America's precious farmland. We hope farmers, chefs and foodies will participate in AFT's next campaign, Dine Out for Farms™, the week of October 16-22, and continue the momentum of support for farms by dining at participating restaurants around the country," says Kirchner.