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Report shows farmers' markets bring money to the local economy

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The Elgin-based Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) marks National Farmers’ Market Week (August 4 through 10 this year) with the release of their first Farmers’ Market Metrics Report. The initial report shows the six farmers’ markets in the region significantly bolster local and regional economies, support local businesses and cut food miles traveled by thousands of miles, while putting the healthiest food possible into the hands of local consumers. In the first six months of 2019, the six markets report a combined $3 million in total market sales.

The Texas Center for Local Food is working in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability to quantify the sustainability and economic impacts of local farmers’ markets with their Farmers’ Market Metrics Report. Recognizing the many threats to the future of both farming and farmers’ markets in the Austin area, the Texas Center for Local Food and the Farmers’ Market Metrics Report help monitor the health of the Central Texas local food system. Every dollar spent at a local farmers’ market helps protect invaluable land, creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and put healthy food on the community’s plate. Documenting and quantifying these impacts helps us understand the value of local foods' movement.

“Austin has always been known for its great food, and the farmers that bring us all that great food have never been as important as they are now,” said Edwin Marty, food policy manager for the City of Austin. “From the thousands of acres of Central Texas land they carefully cultivate and protect, to the thousands of jobs they create, we must do everything possible to ensure our farming community is well supported. There’s no better way to do that than by going to your local farmers' market and putting your dollars to work.”

Preliminary data from the report also show:

• $3,335,196 in total market sales for the first six months of 2019. Markets help support both the local economy and bolster the regional economy.

• 17,192 acres of diversified farmland is in production by farmers’ market. Travis County loses nine acres of farmland every day to development.

• 72 miles is the average distance food travels from local farms to farmers’ markets. Most food eaten in the U.S. has travelled nearly 1,200 miles.

• The six Austin area markets support 188 businesses over the course of the year. Farmers’ markets allow new and small businesses to enter the marketplace.

Farmers’ Market Metrics is a program developed by the national Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening farmers' markets across the United States so that they can serve as community assets while providing real income opportunities for farmers.

As part of National Farmers’ Market Week and to support the report’s release, Austin Mayor Steve Adler read an official proclamation during the August 8 Austin City Council meeting around 6 p.m.