Monday, October 3, 2016 -- The City of Falls Church Farmers Market has won several best in class awards, including People's Choice (23rd in the nation, third in Virginia) and Pillar of the Community (23rd in the nation, third in Virginia). The voting was part of the American Farmland Trust's summer-long "Farmers Market Celebration," an annual effort to rally support for local farms and family farmers by calling on shoppers to identify the best of America’s farmers markets.
"I"m very proud of our market," said Howard Herman, Market Manager. "While it's a great resource for supporting local farmers and getting locally sourced food, it's so much more. It's a gathering place where the community comes together on Saturday mornings to eat, shop, and connect with neighbors. So much of our lives are online these days, so it's refreshing and encouraging to see this traditional form of gathering thrive."
“Farmers markets are critical for new and beginning farmers,” says Susan Sink, American Farmland Trust’s Vice President of Development and External Relations. “Next generation farmers selling directly to consumers at farmers markets have nearly a 10 percent greater chance of staying in business than those selling goods through traditional retail. And when family farmers thrive – our community, economy and families thrive.”
The City of Falls Church Farmers Market full rankings are:
People’s Choice: 23rd Nationwide, 3rd in Virginia
Focus on Farmers: 26th Nationwide, 3rd in Virginia
Healthy Food for All: 26th Nationwide, 3rd in Virginia
Pillar of the Community: 23rd Nationwide, 3rd in Virginia
Champion for the Environment: 25th Nationwide, 3rd in Virginia
“While farmers markets have been growing in popularity, keeping family farmers on farmland remains a nationwide challenge,” Sink says. “Many family farmers struggle to stay financially afloat and face daily pressure from development to sell their land. Farmers markets provide a wonderful opportunity for family farmers to sell directly to consumers and keep their farmland in farming.”
The United States has been losing more than 40 acres of farmland per hour to development. Farms closest to America’s cities—often the providers of the delicious local food found at farmers markets—are directly in the path of that destruction. American Farmland Trust has helped slow this trend over the last 35 years by permanently protecting over five million acres of fertile farmland and contributing to conservation improvements on millions more.