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Tennessee Farmers Markets Benefit Growers And Local Communities

Photo Courtesy Franklin Farmers Market

Farmers markets across Tennessee are as popular as in any other region in the United States. Markets such as the Memphis Farmers Market, Martin Farmers Market, Main Street Dyersburg Farmers Market, and the Franklin Farmers Market are some of the most busy operations in the Volunteer State. Each features locally-grown produce, locally-raised livestock products, and arts and crafts.

Memphis Farmers Market

The Memphis Farmers Market (MFM) began in 2006 when a small group of volunteers envisioned a marketplace of fresh and local foods downtown. The weekly nonprofit outdoor operation features local growers and artisans who showcase local produce, food items, and crafts from across the region. 

MFM runs on Saturdays from April to October from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the goal of improving public health with nutritious food.

It also assists local producers with more sustainable ways to grow their businesses. Additionally, the market wants to instill a sense of pride in area products and create economic growth.

Photo Courtesy Memphis Farmers Market

In July 2010, MFM received a $100,000 matching grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for expanding the market’s pavilion. The new pavilion includes electricity, lighting, and fans and provides covered space for 16 vendors. 

For over a decade, MFM has accepted federal SNAP benefits, ensuring everyone has equal access to healthy food. Through a matching grant with Grow Memphis, SNAP participants who swipe at least $10 on their SNAP card at the market table are given $10 in Double Greens tokens to be spent exclusively on fresh produce.

Martin Farmers Market

In northwest Tennessee, the Martin Farmers Market supports locally grown produce from West Tennessee farmers. The market has been going strong since 2016 when citizens partnered with the city and the University of Tennessee at Martin to find locally grown, raised, and marketed food in and around Weakley County. 

Held in the historic downtown, the operation runs May through October on Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon and offers a Local Food Guide.

It’s open to local vendors who grow, raise, wild harvest, bake, and make their living within 50 miles of the actual market structure.

Photo Courtesy Martin, Tennessee

Martin market managers are working toward implementing a SNAP payment program, hoping that soon all farm vendors who sell items approved by the SNAP program will be required to accept SNAP 2 payments.

Main Street Dyersburg Farmers Market

In the small town of Dyersburg, the Main Street Farmers Market (MSFM) is a producer-only market. A collaborative initiative, it has numerous sponsors, including the Lannom Family, the City of Dyersburg, and the County of Dyer

The market also receives support from The Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Main Street Innovation Grant, with additional partnerships including UT-TSU Extension, Dyer County Master Gardener Program, Pick Tennessee Products, Tennessee Agritourism Association, and the Center for Profitable Agriculture. MSFM, which accepts WIC vouchers, runs Tuesdays and Saturdays from mid-June through September.

Photo Courtesy Brianna Roser 

Franklin Farmers Market

Just south of Nashville, the Franklin Farmers Market (FFM) is a nonprofit agricultural organization with the mission to keep Tennessee’s beautiful farmlands green and growing.

Founded by eight farmers in 2002, FFM believes that productive family farms are essential to the economic and environmental makeup of Middle Tennessee communities. 

What began as a summer-only event is now a year-round operation on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. More than 70 farmers selling products, making it the state’s largest assembly of Tennessee growers. The market works to ensure local farms are profitable while educating the public about the positive and healthy impacts farming has on the area.

Photo Courtesy Franklin Farmers Market   

The surge in the popularity of farmers markets across Tennessee follows the national trend of consumers demanding local, sustainable, and healthy food options. The operations help customers not only live healthier lives as individuals but also make their communities safer, more sustainable, and livable for all.

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