| 1 min read | by Doug Marrin |

The movement to know where our food comes from is gaining momentum as we become more health conscious and socially aware of the impact that large commercial agribusiness has had on our bodies and environment. As if in answer to that calling, Washtenaw County’s farmer’s markets are flourishing.

“We are lucky to have such a robust local food system here in Washtenaw County, but people often aren’t aware of all the opportunities available for them to buy fresh, local, and delicious food,” said Tedi Milgrom, Health Educator at Washtenaw County Health Department and coordinator of the Washtenaw County Farmers Markets initiative. “The goal is to encourage people to visit new markets, meet new farmers and vendors, and explore parts of the county they do not regularly seek out.”

Washtenaw County Farmers Markets is celebrating the growing demand for locally sourced food with the new Washtenaw County Farmers Markets passport. The passport is designed to encourage folks to explore the county’s farmers markets with the possibility of winning a prize or two.

The passport runs August 1 to August 31 and can be found at any of the 13 Washtenaw County farmers markets. Schedules for days and times of the week for each market can be found at www.washtenawmarkets.org.

Participants are encouraged to get passports stamped at each market they visit then return their stamped passports to any participating market by September 2. Participants can also enter the drawings by posting a picture of the stamped passport to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #washtenawmarketspassport. There will be drawings for prizes the first week in September. Prizes include packages with gift certificates and market swag.

Participating farmers markets include: Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Cobblestone, Dexter, Dixboro, Manchester, Milan, Pittsfield Township, Saline, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Webster, Westside, and Ypsilanti.

The health benefits of fresh, locally grown food is now so pronounced that government assistant programs are jumping on board and making the meats and produce available for their clients.

To increase access to fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables, ten of the Washtenaw County farmers markets accept at least one form of food assistance such as SNAP/Bridge Cards, Double Up Food Bucks, Prescription for Health, WIC Project FRESH, and Senior Project FRESH. The Ride also provides residents with easy travel options to 6 of the farmers markets. Find more on transportation and food access programs at each market at www.washtenawmarkets.org.