WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The USDA has released the Farmers Market Resource Guide, a list of grants, programs and other financial and information resources available from public and private organizations.

"At Farm Bill forums across the country, producers supported farmers markets as an additional opportunity to offer consumers fresh produce and increase their income," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner. "The Farmers Market Resource Guide provides an important resource that will help to promote farmers markets by sharing practical information about funding and other resources that are available."

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service took the lead in forming the Farmers Market Consortium, which is a public and private partnership dedicated to helping promote farmers markets. The initial consortium includes USDA agencies and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Ford Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the Project for Public Spaces and several farmers market non-profit groups.

Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets is an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Farmers markets continue to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm.

There are currently more than 3,700 farmers markets operating in the United States, offering consumers farm-fresh, affordable, convenient and healthy products, while helping farmers supplement their income.

The Farmers Market Resource Guide is available online, or in printed form from the Agricultural Marketing Service, Marketing Services Branch, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 2646, South Bldg., Washington, DC 20250, 202-720-8317.

SOURCE: USDA news release.