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By Richard McCarthy, Executive Director of Slow Food USA

Of all food system innovations in the U.S. over the last 20 years, the resurgence of farmers markets may represent the most important DIY expression of community involvement and reinvention.

In small town squares and big city centers, farmers markets delicately balance new food innovation with old food traditions. These community-centered markets celebrate the dignity of labor that brings nourishment from field to fork, and provide a safe haven for newcomers to become old friends.

National Farmers Market Week kicks off this Sunday, August 4 and runs through Saturday, August 10.

I hope you will join me for this year’s celebration at your local market. And when roaming your market this week leaves you hungry to do more, take your support of Slow Food values to the next level with these meals:

Host a “Grow” Dinner
Use the five principles of Oxfam’s “Grow Method” to plan your meal (1) reduce food waste, (2) cook and buy food efficiently, (3) buy only what’s in season/local, (4) reduce meat consumption, and (5) buy products that benefit small-scale producers.

Have a “Meatless Monday
Give up meat one day a week with these top 10 seasonal recipes from our friends at Meatless Monday. Eating less meat and more nutrient-rich vegetables can help reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity – and save water and fossil fuels, too.

The more we can connect these environmental issues to our everyday choices, the more effective we can be in changing the future of food in this country.

See you at the market!