LOCAL FOOD News Roundup

August 19, 2011 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Farmers Markets Grow Despite Bad Economy

If only the economy would grow as rapidly as the nation’s farmers markets.   The number of farmers markets operating throughout the country grew 17%, from 6,132 in 2010 to 7,175 this year.  The results were released in the USDA’s 2011 National Farmers Market Directory.

New York reported 520 markets, ranking second among the nation’s top 10 states with the most farmers markets.  California, with 729 markets, ranked first.

The market listings were submitted to the USDA by market managers on a voluntary, self-reported basis between April 18 and June 24, 2011, as part of the USDA’s annual outreach effort.

Alaska experienced the most growth.  It reported 35 farmers markets, up 46%.  Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico, with 166, 130, and 80 markets, respectively, jumped 38%.

Mayor Bloomberg Signs Local Food Legislation

For the past two years the New York City Council has pushed to make more local food available to New Yorkers.  On Wednesday its efforts paid off:  Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed comprehensive legislation aimed at increasing the production and procurement of local and regional food.

The legislation encourages city agencies to purchase local food, requiring them to provide annual metrics on the food they procure, including where it comes from.  The legislation also calls for the creation of a public, user-friendly database of all city-owned and leased property, which would help community gardeners and urban farmers identify land suitable for urban agriculture.  Another important aspect of the legislation relates to rooftop greenhouses.  It exempts rooftop greenhouses from building height limitations, facilitating the development of rooftop greenhouses in the city.

The five bills that were signed into law evolved from an 86-page report released last year by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.  The report – called FoodWorks – examined ways in which to reform the city’s food system, looking at everything from agricultural production to food disposal.

For a related New York Bounty blog post, click here.  Click here for the related press release.

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Entry filed under: Farmers Market, Local Food Production, Rooftop Gardening, Urban Agriculture. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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