Sustainable Winegrowing Program and Farmers Market Growth Slows
**In 1992, winegrape growers in San Joaquin County embraced a holistic farming approach as they created the Lodi Rules Sustainable Winegrowing Program.
Now that effort, a voluntary initiative to help fellow farmers adopt sustainable ag practices, is world renowned.
Growers in the program commit to conserving water, improving soil quality and protecting bird and wildlife habitat.
In 30 years since the program’s adoption, county winegrape acreage tripled and prices per ton more than doubled.
**New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows the growth in the number of farmers markets slowing.
According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, from 1994 to 2019, the number of farmers markets rose from 1,755 to 8,771 in 2019, an average growth of nearly 7% per year.
Expansion began to slow in 2011 before eventually falling below a 1% per year by 2017.
Since then, growth has remained modest and stable.
**The USDA announced the availability of nearly $8 million to support the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program’s “Produce Prescription Program.”
The funding is part of USDA’s American Rescue Plan efforts and will be administered by its National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
The projects provide financial and non-financial incentives to income-eligible individuals and families to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to improve dietary health.