Rep. Connolly Helps Kick Off Farmers Market Week

FullSizeRender_(12).jpgCentral Square, Cambridge - In celebration of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week, State Representative Mike Connolly welcomed Department of Agriculture Commissioner John Lebeaux to the Central Square Farmers Market in Cambridge. They presented a “Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week” proclamation to the market managers to show appreciation for their dedication to farmers and increasing local food access in Cambridge and across the Commonwealth.

Massachusetts hosts approximately 240 summer and fall farmers’ markets, including six in Cambridge and two in Somerville, and another 40 winter farmers’ markets. At nearly $48 million, Massachusetts ranks 5th in the nation for direct market sales and 3rd in the nation for direct market sales per operation. Direct market sales account for 10 percent of the state’s total sales of agricultural products.

Farmers’ markets provide access to fresh, healthy foods to all citizens of the Commonwealth. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of farmers’ markets accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, with 164 farmers markets’ now accepting SNAP benefits. The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), launched in April, matches SNAP recipients’ purchases of local fruits and vegetables at participating farmers’ markets.

“Farmers’ markets serve as a way for farmers to market their products and meet the growing consumer demand for locally produced food,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Through the ‘Mass Grown and Fresher’ interactive map available on our website, consumers are able to search for a wide range of agricultural products and activities in addition to farmers’ markets to connect them with local growers and producers.”

“I am honored to represent a district with wonderful farmers markets, such as the Central Square Farmers Market in Cambridge and the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville,” said State Representative Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge). “I am also proud to support the Farmers Market Coupon Program because it helps working families eat healthy while supporting local farms. It is my hope we continue to address food insecurity by supporting these programs in Cambridge and Somerville, and across the Commonwealth.”

MDAR compiles an annual list of Massachusetts farmers’ markets, listing days, locations, times, and opening and closing dates for each market. An interactive map of farmers’ markets statewide is available here.