BATON ROUGE – August 5-11, 2018 has been declared National Farmers Market Week by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“I love visiting local farmers markets and roadside stands,” said Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “That’s where you find the freshest fruits, vegetables and other Louisiana grown products.”
Strain adds it is also a great way to support the local economy and meet the people who are growing your food. National Farmers Market Week recognizes the vital role farmers and farmers markets have on the economy. In Louisiana, there are approximately 75 farmers markets and 100 roadside stands.
“Remember, when you buy Louisiana produce you are supporting your farming neighbors while supporting your health with the freshest produce available,” said Strain. “In most cases, crops get from the field to your family on the same day. Now that’s fresh.”
The LDAF has again secured a grant from the USDA to participate in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) allowing senior citizens to buy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey at farmers markets and roadside stands. This program helps to increase access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by seniors, as well as supports local farming producers. Seniors who applied for the program this year have until November 30 to visit their local farmers market or roadside stand to utilize their vouchers.
Applications are still being accepted at this time. Strain encourages senior citizens 60 years and older who meet certain income requirements to contact their parish Council on Aging to participate. In New Orleans, seniors can contact Catholic Charities.
For a list of local farmers markets in your area, go to the LDAF website at www.ldaf.la.gov. For more information about the FMNP, go to the website or call 985-345-9483.