National Farmers Market Week!

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Volume 3, Issue 21, August 8, 2017

The Dirt - New and Notes from FNS's Office of Community Food Systems
National Farmers Market Week logo

 August 6-12 is National Farmers Market Week

This week, we're celebrating National Farmers Market Week! Farmers markets are fertile ground for teaching children where foods come from and can serve as field trip sites that introduce kids to new foods, business practices, and agricultural production. Small to mid-sized farmers often rely on farmers markets for direct sales. Small school districts, Summer Meal Programs, CACFP sponsors, child care centers and family day care homes are also prime markets for these producers. Increasingly, Summer Meal sponsors are using farmers markets as summer feeding sites, which provide necessary nutrition while also increasing traffic at the market. 

Sonny Perdue, Secretary of USDA

The Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, signed a proclamation highlighting the benefit farmers markets and other direct marketing outlets have on local economies. They contribute approximately $9 billion to the economy and generate revenue that support rural communities nationwide.

The National Farmers Market Coalition (NFMC) strengthens farmers markets across the United States so they can serve as a community asset while providing an income for farmers. The NFMC says farmers markets can:

  • Stimulate local economies
  • Preserve farmland and rural livelihoods
  • Increase access to fresh food
  • Support local communities

Join us in celebrating National Farmers Market Week by downloading new NFMW graphics to use in emails, on posters, or for other marketing materials and visiting your nearest farmers market!

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A SNAPshot of Successful Farmers Markets Across the United States

Take a tour of market successes! In recognition of National Farmers Market Week, the Farmers Market Coalition is excited to present a series of Farmers Market Success Stories featuring markets from across the country working to improve access to fresh, local products for low-income community members. Successful markets share tips and best practices for growing and maintaining thriving markets that build community, boost the local economy, and ensure access to all. In this first story, learn about the Fresh Bucks, SNAP Ambassador and Senior Farm Share programs in Tacoma, Washington. Stay tuned as other stories released this week highlight the importance of local partnerships and USDA programs like the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) program, and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program to improving food access in Oklahoma, North Carolina and more!

Harvesting Opportunity Banner

Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s agencies of Rural Development and the Agricultural Marketing Service, has released Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities, a compilation of research, essays and reports that explores the potential for the growing popularity of locally sourced food to be harnessed to boost economic opportunities for rural and urban communities.

Be sure to check out Chapter 10: Institutions: An Emerging Market for Local and Regional Foods for specific insights on farm to institution investments.

Columbus City Schools Source Local Turkey for Ohio Days

Bowman and Landes turkey farm

When Columbus City Schools food service director, Joe Brown, and his team selected the first meal to serve for Ohio Days, they wanted to start out with something really popular such as a turkey dinner. After some research, they found Bowman & Landes Turkeys, Inc. near New Carlisle.

Bowman & Landes Turkeys, Inc. raise their own turkey from day one to harvest, and process them on the farm. Turkeys have been raised by the Bowman & Landes family farm since 1948 through a partnership that began with Dennis Landes and Kenneth Bowman. Their original mission to produce the highest quality free range turkeys using home grown grains has not changed and continues to drive their organization. They are committed to quality and excellence with the grain they grow, the turkeys they produce, and the customers they serve.

The farm is led by Carl Bowman, Steve Landes, Stan Landes, and Anita Bowman-Hamber who farm more than 2,000 acres and raise 80,000 turkeys per year that are raised free-range and without antibiotics. Bowman & Landes Turkeys, Inc. are no strangers to farm to school. They sell to local universities who do scratch cooking including Otterbein, Denison, Oberlin, and Antioch as well as restaurants. Anita Bowman-Hamber explained that selling to institutions has greatly impacted their business.

“Joe at Columbus City Schools gave us plenty of lead time to get the order of 4,000 pounds of cooked turkey roast containing both light and dark meat along with our oven roasted turkey deli meat ready for his school,”.

Their retail shop on the farm is open all year. Besides offering everything turkey, they also carry cheeses, breads, pies – local products. As you can imagine their busiest time of year is before Thanksgiving. They hire one hundred extra employees to handle the demand. Their products are also available at grocery stores in parts of Ohio and surrounding states. "The local healthy food movement has sure helped our business", said Drew. “We think educating our customers on our process and how we source our products helps promote our business,” he added.

“It has helped our business that Columbus City Schools thought of our turkey, and at the end of the day we are happy to help young children receive a healthier lunch. We look forward to providing products that work well in more schools and forming relationships with their representatives,” Drew concluded.

Columbus City Schools was also awarded a FY 17 Farm to School Implementation Grant that will strengthen the relationships developed between CCS Food Service and local food system partners as well as allow for the processing and inclusion of fresh, local fruits and vegetables in the meal program.

There was a lot of excitement in the lunch room when the turkey dinner was served. The children really enjoyed the Ohio grown lunch on January 25th. Along with the Bowman and Landes Turkey, there was dressing and gravy from Sandridge Foods of Medina, Salad mix from Waterfields of Cincinnati, and an apple from Bauman Orchards of Rittman. 

This was the first of the monthly meals planned by Columbus City Schools. Ohio Meals are held on the third Thursday of each month. There are plans to continue the program through next school year.