Well the votes are tabulated and the results official. The Floyd County Farmers’ Market is the #1 Most Appreciated farmers market in Kentucky and #4 in the nation. Yahoo!!
How can a young market in a county with less that 40,000 people rank so high in the nation? Well, you could blame it on American Idol I guess. Each year, American Farmland Trust promotes what they call the “I Love My Farmers’ Market Celebration”. People go online and pledge to spend a certain amount of money each week at their local market. It is a popularity contest where you can vote every week for the length of the celebration. Last year Floyd County’s market came in first in Kentucky and twenty-third in the Nation so our goal this year was to get in the top ten nationwide.
You might think that this is not a very scientific way to determine the best farmers’ market and your right. It is hard to define “best”. But most appreciated? That is easier to determine just by tracking the number of people who take to time to vote.
What this goes to show is the fact that local people like to buy local food. One of American Farmland Trust’s tag lines is, “Know your farmer, know your food” and that is true. With the uncertainty of what is actually going into the processed food we eat, more and more people are growing gardens and shopping at farmers’ markets. Which is one reason Grow Appalachia is such a great program. It helps families take control of their own food system and with a little extra work (and a gentle nudge) more and more of them are selling some of what they grow.
We in Floyd County are fortunate to have people in the local government and extension service who understand the value of developing a local food system. And every year there are more and more farmers’ markets opening up in Appalachia. Which means that, next year, Floyd County might have some competition for #1 most appreciated farmers’ market in Kentucky. I say, bring it on!
For a listing of the top 100 markets in the country and information on how to challenge us next year, go to http://action.farmland.org/site/PageNavigator/Americas-Favorite-Farmers-Markets/best_local_farmers_market_vote