With 556 votes, the 2021 America’s Farmers Market Celebration ranked the Mount Vernon Farmers Market first in Ohio, eighth in the Midwest and 29th in the country.
The America’s Farmers Market Celebration is a competition run by the American Farmland Trust to publicize farmers markets across the country. From June 21 to Sept. 19, market supporters vote for their local favorites on the American Farmland Trust’s website. The Trust recognizes state and regional winners, and gifts cash awards to the three organizations across the nation who received the most votes. Over 2,000 farmers markets participated in 2021.
With two dozen vendors and a prime location on the Public Square, the Mount Vernon Farmers Market is the largest in Knox County. Local vendors offer an assortment of products, including fruits, vegetables, honey and baked goods. The market also has implemented measures to make its nutritious local offerings less cost-prohibitive — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits; Women, Infants and Children benefits; and other programs that reduce out-of-pocket cost.
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market rallied community support with messages on social media and outreach through local organizations. On Tuesday, Sept. 14, Alyssa Gómez Lawrence ’10, assistant director of community partnerships, sent an email to all students and employees encouraging community members to vote for their local market.
“I know how much you love the Mount Vernon Farmers Market…” said the subject line, “So why don’t you take a moment to vote for it!” continued Gómez Lawrence in the body of the email.
When the voting was finalized, the Mount Vernon Farmers Market thanked those who voted them to the top of the Ohio leaderboard. “We are honored to take that designation and appreciate the votes and support!” the organization wrote on their Facebook page.
The Market’s regional showing was strong, ranking eighth out of hundreds of participating farmers markets in the Midwest, including the nationwide winner, Columbia Farmers Market of Columbia, Mo., a larger market with regular attendance of over 4,000 and 85 vendors.
“If the last year has taught us anything, it is that farmers markets are not a luxury to communities,” the American Farmland Trust web page reads. “They are essential businesses that provide a vital service and should be celebrated.” Consequently, the dollar amount of cash prizes awarded to the first, second and third-place markets in the country were increased from previous years to expand those markets’ reaches.
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market runs weekly on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. May through October.