After tallying the votes in the fourth annual America’s Favorite Farmers Markets™ contest, American Farmland Trust has named four farmers markets—one for each size category—as winners of the 2012 competition.
Out of 47,275 votes cast overall in the summer long contest, the winning markets for each category are:
Arlington Farmers Market, Arlington, Washington (325 out of 5266 votes cast)
Sulphur Springs Texas Farmers Market, Sulphur Springs, Texas (3,061 out of 14,503 votes cast)
Winter Garden Farmers Market, Winter Garden, Florida (1,999 out of 12,667 votes cast)
Fayetteville Farmers Market, Fayetteville, Arkansas (1,439 votes out of 14,839 votes cast)
American Farmland Trust designed the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest to promote the economic and social value of farmers markets, and to bring attention to the need for farmland to grow fresh, local food.
“The America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest is about celebrating the unique qualities of farmers markets throughout the nation and the important role that these markets play in keeping family farmers on the land,” said American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl.
In concert with the contest, Cory Mosser of Burge Organic Farm in Mansfield, Georgia was named winner of the 2012 Farmers Market Inspiration Award. The Farmers Market Coalition in partnership with Growing for Market magazine and American Farmland Trust selected Mosser as the winner of the $1,000 prize for his essay on why farmers markets matter to his farm, family, and community.
Situated on the grounds of Burge Plantation, a property that has been in the same family since 1809, Burge Organic Farm produces fruits, vegetables, honey and eggs on 16 acres. “It has been nothing short of incredible to witness a community come into full bloom around local food,” wrote Mosser in his essay. “People come to the market to talk with their neighbors and to make new friends. Families bond over dinner plans.”
“Saturday for me is the big payoff,” Mosser wrote. “It’s our chance after a week of talking to plants to be the center of a conversation…I get paid not only in dollars, but also in priceless vignettes that unfold every weekend right in front of me.” Mosser’s full essay is available at http://www.growingformarket.com/articles/Inspiration-Award-Winner.
The winning farmers markets will each receive a plaque and a shipment of customized No Farms No Food® reusable tote bags. They will also be featured in the media, including Epicurious.com and the Food Networks’s FN Dish.
More information about the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest, including listings of the top farmers markets by state and size category, can be found on the contest website at www.votemyfarmersmarket.org .
American Farmland Trust is the nation’s leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.
AFT’s national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.