WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 –  USDA opened the 17th season of the summer farmers market on the Washington Mall today with guests including Hip Hop Public Health, NFL Athlete Reed Doughty, Fuel Up to Play 60 and employee appearances, including a dancing cow. 

Agriculture Marketing Program Specialist for Dairy Programs at USDA, John Galbraith dressed up to promote agriculture and dance to the market’s DJ music today for this year’s USDA farmers market theme,  “Grow Healthy, Eat Healthy & Be Healthy.”


Galbraith was just one the day’s events attracting visitors form the National Mall to the USDA farmers market. Hip Hop Public Health used the stage for music and "entertainment education" to promote active lifestyles and education about nutrition and calories.


According to USDA, between 2010 and 2011, there was a 17 percent growth in the number of farmers markets around the country. The department is updating the National Farmers Market Directory and will update the market count during National Farmers Market Week, Aug. 5, 2012 through Aug. 11, 2012. 

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan opened the market today, as part of her local foods campaign, which includes USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF) Compass, an interactive U.S. map showing local and regional food projects. USDA and Fuel Up to Play 60 is a partnership of the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, which also invited the public to visit the People’s Garden and learn about the Farmers Market.

The USDA Farmers Market features vendors selling items like fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, baked goods, kettle popcorn, local honey products and hand-made soap. New features for the 2012 summer market include an on-site sign language interpreter, a hand-washing station and a USDA-certified organic vendor.




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