American Farmland Trust today announced the third annual competition for "America's Favorite Farmers Markets," a nationwide contest that gives farmers market customers the chance to vote for their favorite markets and show support for their local food communities.
To participate in the 2011 competition, newly enrolling farmers markets are encouraged to register online at www.farmland.org/marketmanager. Online voting will take place from June 1 through August 31, when four winning markets—one large, one medium, one small, and one boutique—will receive the title of America's Favorite Farmers Market for 2011. Winners will be featured on the leading foodsite Epicurious.com and will be honored at local celebrations where they will receive prize packages from American Farmland Trust and its partners.
The America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest is a part of American Farmland Trust's No Farms No Food campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of farmland loss by making connections to food. Farms near metropolitan areas produce 91 percent of the nation's market value of fruit, 78% of vegetables, and 67% of dairy products.
"Despite the surging popularity of farmers markets in recent years, America has been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute to development—most of it around cities where there is greatest demand for local food," says Jon Scholl, president of American Farmland Trust. "The success of farmers markets is crucial to reversing this trend, ensuring that we will all have access to excellent food from nearby farms."
Sponsors of the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest include Epicurious.com, Websticker.com, and Square, a product that enables people from all walks of life to accept credit and debit cards.
"Who doesn't love shopping at the farmers market?" says Square representative Garrett MacManus. "At Square, we believe in supporting farmers and our simple and affordable technology is already helping farmers and farmers markets across the country increase their revenue. Partnering with America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest was an obvious choice; American Farmland Trust's contest helps farmers get new customers, and so can Square."
"Farmers markets are a vital component of our local communities and Epicurious is pleased to raise awareness for the most beloved markets in the U.S. by spotlighting them on our website," says Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of Epicurious.com. "We're also proud to support them through our mobile tour program, now in its fourth year."
For more information about the 2011 America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest, visit www.farmland.org/vote. Companies interested in showing their support for America's farmers markets can find sponsorship information at www.farmland.org/sponsorship.