Via a July 28 Press Release from the Mill City Farmers Market:
Minneapolis’ Mill District’s weekly Saturday market celebrates the benefits of the market to the community’s health and local economy with $5 shopping vouchers, family activities, and a visit from City Councilman Jacob Frey!
National Farmers Market Week is August 7-13, 2016. In celebration, the Mill City Farmers Market is distributing free five dollar shopping vouchers to its first 1,000 visitors starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill. The vouchers will be eligible for all take-home grocery items, as part of the Mil City Farmers Market and Chipotle’s mission to provide “farm fresh food for all.” In addition to the vouchers, the market will have, kids story telling at 10 a.m. by talented Guthrie Theater actor H. Adams, a free cooking demonstration with Chef Nettie Colón at 10:30 a.m., and live music by local folk group Light of the Moon at 11 a.m. with a special introduction by City Councilman Jacob Frey, speaking about the importance of farmers markets to our community!
Farmers markets are more than just an outlet for fresh produce and friendly farmers. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, these grassroots venues have increased in number by over 60% since 2009 to more than 8,500 today. Farmers markets preserve farmland, stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh nutritious food, improve community health, and promote sustainability. For example, growers selling locally create thirteen full-time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned while those that do not sell locally only create three. Minnesota is home to over 200 farmers markets.
The Mill City Farmers Market currently has 109 farmers, food producers, and artisans selling a wide variety of products, including farmstead cheeses, pasture-raised meat, fresh bread, and lots of organic heirloom vegetables. In the most recent season, the Mill City Farmers Market generated an estimated 2 million dollars for these local producers, a valuable economic boost for the region.
“Vending at Mill City Farmers Market has given us a huge opportunity to connect face-to-face with the folks who are eating our food each week,” Laura Frerichs, owner of Loon Organics Farm in Hutchinson, Minn. explained. “The relationships we have formed with many of our returning customers has been one of the most rewarding parts about our Mill City booth. We love getting a pulse on the buzz around certain vegetables or recipes: what customers are cooking with their produce, what they most look forward to, and how can we cajole some into trying the fennel or eggplant that sometimes is swept aside in the rush for tomatoes and carrots.”
In addition to supporting local farmers and artisans, the Mill City Farmers Market is dedicated to local food education and healthy food access for all. Every week the Mill City Farmers Market offers free cooking demonstrations with professional chefs, nutritional mini-lectures, and recipe samples through its Mill City Cooks, Nutrition Corner, and Meet Your Vegetables programs. The Mill City Farmers Market accepts SNAP/EBT, formerly known as Food Stamps, and matches these benefits dollar-per-dollar up to ten dollars for each customer. Furthermore, in 2015 Mill City Farmers Market vendors donated over 5,000 pounds of produce to low-income seniors and families in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood through the market’s food donation program.
“Farmers markets play a vital role in forming healthy, local food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture, sharing recipes, and exposing them to new foods. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier."
Founded in 2006 by acclaimed local chef and restaurateur Brenda Langton in partnership with the Mill City Museum, the Mill City Farmers Market has earned a reputation for its promotion of healthy eating and support of local, sustainable, and organic agriculture in the region. Located next to the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis, the market runs every Saturday May-October from 8am to 1pm. More information can be found at www.millcityfarmersmarket.org.