National Farmers Market Week is coming up next week. It's a way to support our local farmers markets.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says the week of August 3 through 9, 2014, will bring additional attention to our state's farmers markets from those who don't normally frequent them.

The declaration was made through an official proclamation signed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. This year marks the 15th Annual National Farmers Market Week recognizing the important role these markets play in the agricultural and food economy.

"It’s important to support your farmers markets because it’s a great way to buy fresh, Louisiana grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products, among other things," Strain said. "It’s a way to visit with our local producers and support the local economy, not to mention all the added health benefits of buying fresh food."

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry secured a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the 2014 Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), allowing senior citizens to buy locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables, cut herbs and honey at farmers markets and roadside stands.

The program helps to increase access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by seniors, and supports local farming producers. Seniors who applied for the program this year have until November 30 to visit their local farmers market or roadside stand to utilize their vouchers.

While the program is closed for this year, applications will be accepted again in March of 2015. Strain encourages senior citizens 60 years and older who meet certain income requirements to contact their parish Council on Aging next year to participate. In New Orleans, seniors can contact Catholic Charities.

We have Farmers Markets in downtown Shreveport's Festival Plaza, at Mall St. Vincent and in Benton. For the complete list, visit the LDAF website.