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Calling All Farmers Markets!  Registration Now Open for the 2011
America’s Favorite Farmers Markets™ Contest

Gretchen Hoffman, 202-378-1251 or ghoffman@farmland.org
Washington, D.C., April 27, 2011 —American Farmland Trust today announced the third annual competition for “America’s Favorite Farmers Markets,” a nationwide contest that gives farmers market customers the chance to vote for their favorite markets and show support for their local food communities. 

In order to participate in the 2011 competition, newly enrolling farmers markets are encouraged to register online at www.farmland.org/marketmanager.  Online voting will take place from June 1 through August 31, when four winning markets—one large, one medium, one small, and one boutique—will receive the title of America’s Favorite Farmers Market for 2011.   Winners will be featured on the leading foodsite Epicurious.com and will be honored at local celebrations where they will receive prize packages from American Farmland Trust and its partners.

The America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest is a part of American Farmland Trust’s No Farms No Food® campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of farmland loss by making connections to food.  Farms near metropolitan areas produce 91 percent of the nation’s market value of fruit, 78 percent of vegetables, and 67 percent of dairy products. 

“Despite the surging popularity of farmers markets in recent years, America has been losing more than an acre of farmland every minute to development—most of it around cities where there is greatest demand for local food,” said Jon Scholl, president of American Farmland Trust.  “The success of farmers markets is crucial to reversing this trend, ensuring that we will all have access to excellent food from nearby farms.”

Sponsors of the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest include Epicurious.com, Websticker.com, and Square, a product that enables people from all walks of life to accept credit and debit cards.  

"Who doesn't love shopping at the farmers market?” said Square representative Garrett MacManus. "At Square, we believe in supporting farmers and our simple and affordable technology is already helping farmers and farmers markets across the country increase their revenue.  Partnering with America's Favorite Farmers Markets contest was an obvious choice; American Farmland Trust's contest helps farmers get new customers, and so can Square."

"Farmers markets are a vital component of our local communities and Epicurious is pleased to raise awareness for the most beloved markets in the U.S. by spotlighting them on our website," said Tanya Steel, editor-in-chief of Epicurious.com. "We're also proud to support them through our mobile tour program, now in its fourth year."

For more information about the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest, visit www.farmland.org/vote.  Companies interested in showing their support for America’s farmers markets can find sponsorship information at www.farmland.org/sponsorship.

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American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust