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New Data Reflects the Continued Demand for Farmers Markets

                     Three New USDA Directories Help Connect Consumers and Farmers through Local Food Opportunities

Aug. 4, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo announced over the Farmers-Market-foodsweekend that USDA's National Farmers Market Directory now lists 8,268 markets, an increase of 76 percent since 2008. The data reflects continued demand and growth of farmers markets in every region of the country. Alonzo also announced that AMS is developing three new local food directories that will expand USDA's support for local and regional foods by providing easy access to the most current information about the local food market.

Alonzo made the announcements at the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Wisconsin, the country's largest producer-only market, where she kicked off the 15th annual "National Farmers Market Week", from Aug. 3 through Aug. 9, 2014.

"The National Farmers Market Directory numbers reflect the continued importance of farmers markets to American agriculture. Since its inception, the directory has proven to be a valuable tool for accessing up-to-date information about local farmers markets," Alonzo said. "Farmers markets play an extremely important role for both farmers and consumers. They bring urban and rural communities together while creating economic growth and increasing access to fresh, healthy foods."

The USDA National Farmers Market Directory, available at farmersmarkets.usda.gov, provides information about U.S. farmers’ market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, and much more. The data is collected via voluntary self-reporting by operating farmers’ market managers and is searchable by zip code, product mix, and other criteria. The National Farmers Market Directory receives over two million hits annually.

In addition to USDA's National Farmers Market Directory, AMS is adding:

USDA's National Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Enterprise Directory - A CSA is a farm or network/association of multiple farms that offer consumers regular deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis.

USDA's National Food Hub Directory - A Food Hub is a business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, primarily local and regional producers, to strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.

USDA's National On-Farm Market Directory - An On-Farm Market is a farm market managed by a single farm operator that sells agricultural and/or horticultural products directly to consumers from a location on their farm property or on property adjacent to that farm.

USDA invites local food business owners who fall within these categories to list their operational details in the new directories www.usdalocalfooddirectories.com  These new directories will be available online early in 2015, giving potential customers, business partners, and community planners easy, one-stop access to the most current information about different sources of local foods.

2014 Directory Highlights

According to USDA's 2014 National Farmers Market Directory, the states with the most farmers markets reported are California (764 markets), New York (638 markets), Michigan (339 markets), Ohio (311 markets), Illinois (309 markets), Massachusetts (306 markets), Pennsylvania (297 markets), Wisconsin (295 markets), Virginia (249 markets), and Missouri (245 markets). All geographic regions saw increases in their market listings, with the most growth in the South. The 10 states with the biggest increases in the numbers of farmers markets include Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Arkansas, North Carolina, Montana, Florida and Nebraska. Five of these states – Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and North Carolina – are part of USDA's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity, where USDA has increased investment in rural communities through intensive outreach and stronger partnerships.

Farmers’ market development is a cornerstone of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department's policy, resources, and outreach efforts related to local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack has identified strengthening local food systems as one of the four pillars of USDA's commitment to rural economic development.

ISC-Audubon Celebrates Family Farms!

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

New Species of Frogs Disappearing as Fast as They

New species of frogs in Panama are being lost nearly as fast as they are being found to a deadly fungal disease that is sweeping through the region.

In an effort to document the diversity of frogs in Central America before the disease sweeps through the entire region, scientists are discovering new species, some of which are going extinct, and some of which are surviving.

In Panama’s Omar Torrijos National Park, 11 new species of frogs were discovered in the course of the long-term survey. After the fungus epidemic in 2004, five of these species went locally extinct, but only one of them is thought to have no other known habitats.Panama Frogs

“In amphibians, the amount of new species described every year keeps going up. We can’t even guess where it is going to stop,” said evolutionary geneticist Andrew Crawford from the University of the Andes, lead author of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published on July 19. “But at the same time, we keep losing them. One third of amphibian species around the world are listed on the IUCN Red List.”

Biologist Karen Lips, a co-author of the study, set up long-term frog monitoring in Omar Torrijos National Park in 1998, when she realized that the deadly fungus first noted in Costa Rica was spreading rapidly towards the region.

“She walked the same transects year after year, and one day in October 2004 she started finding dead frogs instead of live ones,” Crawford said. “The strangest thing was that frogs that were previously rare, like subterranean frogs, became more abundant. They started coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, and then they died.”

In the course of the long-term study, Lips and Crawford identified a total of 74 species in the region.

Within a couple of months of the fungus arriving, Crawford said, 30 of the species disappeared from the region, including five that were newly discovered. A survey in 2008 confirmed their absence.

The killer fungus, Batrochochytrium dendrobatidis, was first noted when the golden toad and about half of the frog species disappeared in Monteverde reserve in Costa Rica in 1987.

Since then, it has been spreading eastward through the Central America highlands, and also through a large portion of the Andes, likely from a separate introduction.

The fungus dislikes too much heat or dryness, which makes frogs that live in streams in mountainous areas most vulnerable.

While the exact origin and cause of the spread of the disease is unknown, Crawford guesses that the disease travels with the amphibians that get moved around for pets and research. He said that this particular fungus either originated in Africa or North America.

Only one of the species that went extinct in Omar Torrijos National Park has no other known habitat, meaning that it is likely extinct worldwide. The other 29 species have known ranges in eastern Panama, which hasn’t yet been hit by the fungus.

Researchers are searching for ways to avert the loss of more species. The most promising of these is a bacteria that has been found in salamanders in North America that protects their eggs from the fungus.

The bacteria has been isolated and tested on frogs in the Sierra Nevada, and appeared to improve their survival rates from the fungus, said Crawford. However, there are still many questions to be answered about the ethics and efficacy of introducing the bacteria to frogs in Central and South America.

To read the original article visit: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/gallery-panama-frogs/


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.org

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org 

The Reserve at Lake Keowee
www.reserveatlakekeowee.com/

Sustainability Campaign
sustainabilitycampaign.blogspot.com

EnergyStar
www.energystar.gov/

The Royal Society of Biological Sciences
www.royalsocietypublishing.org

National Geographic
www.nationalgeographic.com

Double Oaks
www.doubleoakscharlotte.com

Global Stewards
www.globalstewards.org

United States Department of Energy
www.energy.gov

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

     

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