WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications from farmers, growers, and other producers for its 2016 Farmers Market, which will open on Friday, May 6, 2016. Applications will be accepted through March 16.
In 2015, the market underwent a major redesign and expansion to make room for twice as many vendors as hosted in the past and new products such as cut flowers, fresh oysters, and other delicious offerings from local farmers, ranchers and food businesses. USDA also launched a USDA Farmers Market at Night pilot – the first market of its kind in the District – that was so successful it will be held regularly in 2016.
The USDA Farmers Market schedule for 2016 includes the daytime market that will operate on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May 6 through October 28 and the night market that will operate on Fridays, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., from June 3 through September 30. Interested vendors can apply to participate in either or both markets online at ManageMyMarket.com.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has managed the USDA Farmers Market for the past 21 years turning it into a true gathering place for USDA and its neighbors, including Washington, D.C.-area employees, residents in Ward 2 and visitors to the National Mall. The USDA Farmers Market also provides a great business opportunity for entrepreneurs.
The market fulfills its mission of promoting local food and building community in Ward 2 by creating an enjoyable and inclusive atmosphere for customers. Sign language interpreters are on-site each week in the information tent. Seating and picnic blankets are available in the adjacent USDA People’s Garden. Live music and educational classes are offered weekly free of charge. Dogs are allowed on leash. Shoppers can use a variety of payment options, including electronic benefits such as SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (NFMNP) coupons. The market also distributes DC Produce Plus checks.
Farmers, growers and producers located in the Chesapeake Bay region (including the states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) and preferably within a 200-mile radius of the District of Columbia are encouraged to apply. USDA is partnering again this year with Union Kitchen, a local food incubator that provides a low-cost, low-risk, full-service kitchen, and inviting their members to test Made in DC products at the USDA Farmers Market.
USDA does not charge a fee to vendors who participate in the USDA Farmers Market. Instead, vendors are required to commit to supporting the USDA gleaning/food recovery initiative. Thanks to this program 8,496 pounds of food was donated to DC Central Kitchen in 2015.
More information, including the 2016 vendor application form and USDA Farmers Market Guidelines, is available at www.usda.gov/farmersmarket or by calling 202-690-1300. Completed applications and all required documentation are due by midnight Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 16, 2016.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).