Number of U.S. Farmers Markets Increases 16% in Last Year

According to the National Farmers Market Directory, the greatest increases were in Midwestern states. Missouri's number of markets grew 77 percent. Minnesota, Idaho and Michigan each saw 60 percent increases.

Per The Washington Post:

"Growing interest in farmers markets is driven by consumer concerns about food safety and a renewed focus on healthful eating. But they have also become fashionable. Michelle Obama has drawn attention to markets and the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2009, the first lady became the first since Eleanor Roosevelt to plant a garden on the White House lawn. Last summer, she helped to christen the new market on Vermont Avenue, several blocks from the White House."

Skeptics of the benefit of the upward trend in farmers markets voice concern that small farmers are setting up shop in big cities where they can command higher prices. When this happens, critics contend, traffic drops off at smaller, rural markets, ultimately putting them out of business.

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