By Alyssa Schnugg
The Oxford Community Market won second place in the 13th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration – a three-month national event where the public voted for their favorite market.
For winning second place, the market will receive $1,500.
“We are, of course, thrilled and proud of our second-place win, but the real prize is now being connected to markets across the country who are doing amazing local food systems work,” said OXCM director Betsy Chapman. “Through the contest, we had the opportunity to learn about and get ideas from the great things these markets are doing in their communities.”
The contest started June 21 and voting went through Sept. 19. More than 2,000 markets across the country participated with more than 1 million people engaging by voting, visiting the celebration website and engaging on social media.
OXCM was also named the southeast regional winning market.
The contest was sponsored by American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition.
Since 2008, the celebration has highlighted the important role farmers’ markets play in American communities and the larger food system. Farmers markets foster direct relationships between community members and farmers to help create a more fair, sustainable and just food system. Participating in the celebration is a way for people to come together and support their communities and local food producers.
“The contest, aside from being a heck of a lot of fun and quite a wild ride at some points along the way, was just really great publicity for our little market and really brought our community of supporters together,” Chapman said. “We gained many new social media followers and got a lot of engagement from University of Mississippi students, which has been one of our marketing goals. The contest helped in strengthen our communication channels and allowed us to have some creative marketing fun too.”
The Columbia Farmers Market in Columbia, Missouri won first place with a $2,500 prize.
“We are constantly inspired by the dedicated farmers market operators around the country who have worked so hard to continue to provide essential services for their communities, despite the monumental challenges of the past year,” said Ben Feldman, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition.
The prize money will go toward marketing, communications and other needs that help expand the market’s reach and impact.