Great news for fruit and veggies lovers! The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the number of direct-sales markets has increased 9.6 percent in the past year, with California and New York leading the way. (Mr. Divabetic can’t wait to visit each of them in his world famous fruit suit!)
“Farmers markets are a critical ingredient to our nation’s food system,” USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. “These outlets provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also to the communities looking for fresh, healthy foods.”
After 18 years of steady increases, the number of farmers markets across the country now registered with the USDA is 7,864. In 1994, there were 1,744.
Some markets are so popular that there are wait lists for farmers to sell there, including one of the largest and most diverse of all, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco. Farmers from across the region travel there three days a week to sell fruits, vegetables and artisan breads and cheeses to thousands of shoppers, including top chefs from the food-centric city.
The USDA has worked to make the markets accessible to people of all income levels by outfitting more with the ability to accept payments from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. More than $4 million is being made available to equip markets with wireless point-of-sale equipment.
California, the country’s top agricultural producing state, has 827 markets, according to the USDA. New York has 647, more than double the next most prolific state, Massachusetts, which has 313.
The mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southeast saw the biggest percentage growth in markets, reporting 15.8, 14.4 and 13.1 percent jumps in participation.
How many servings of fruits and vegetables have you had today? Check out real people’s reactions to Mr. Divabetic unique way of promoting healthy eating habits at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.
Mr. Divabetic is the host of Divabetic’s dynamic free online and mobile podcast channel featuring health care professionals, beauty, image/style and fitness experts, entertainment industry leaders and VIPs: women and men living with, at risk of and affected by diabetes.
Meet Mr. Divabetic on the red carpet at the American Diabetes Association Expo in Pittsburgh, PA and the Taking Control Of Your Diabetes Health Fair & Conferences in San Diego, CA and Austin, TX in Fall 2012. For more glitter, games and glucose advice visit: http://www.divabetic.org Original music by Douglas Clay: http://www.douglasclaymusic.com
LISTEN NOW: Free Diabetes Podcast Inspired by Katy Perry http://www.blogtalkradio.com/divatalkradio1/2012/07/10/diabetes-roundtable-inspired-by-katy-perry