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News Advisory

RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462


For Release:

August 1, 2000

Contact:

Sally J. Spadaro 222-4700 ext. 2426
Stephanie Powell 222-4700 ext. 4418

COLT STATE PARK FARMERS' MARKET FESTIVAL SET FOR AUGUST 4

BRISTOL - In honor of National Farmers' Market Week, the Department of Environmental Management's Divisions of Agriculture and Parks & Recreation will be holding a Summer Festival at the Colt State Park Farmers' Market in Bristol on Friday, August 4 between 2 PM and 6 PM. The Colt State Park Farmers' Market is the newest farmers' market in the state and in a beautiful location at the edge of Narragansett Bay.

The Festival will feature cooking demonstrations of Rhode Island grown vegetables and fruits prepared by chefs from Johnson & Wales University. Information about nutrition and recipe cards will be provided.

Several vendors will be selling locally grown vegetables, fruits, nursery stock, hanging plants, sunflowers and herbs. Other products that are available at the market are soaps, candles, baked goods and lip balms made from beeswax.

DEM Director Jan Reitsma is scheduled to attend the event at 2 PM. "The increasing popularity of farmer's markets in Rhode Island underscores the appreciation that Rhode Islanders have for quality home-grown produce," said Reitsma. "We've done a lot over the years to assist the agriculture community, including the establishment of new markets such as this one in Bristol. But more needs to be done, particularly with regard to helping farmers preserve the lands that they rely on."

To date, the State has helped to preserve 3,5000 acres of farmland linked with 34 farms throughout the state via land acquisition grants and the purchase of development rights. The $34 million open space bond measure that is on the ballot this fall will include $5 million for additional investments in agricultural preservation in Rhode Island.

The number of farmers' markets in the United States has grown dramatically in recent years, increasing by some 56 percent from 1994 to 1998 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The latest figures from the USDA indicate that there are 2,764 such markets throughout the country. Sales generated by farmers' markets exceed $1 billion annually with most of the money going directly to small family farmers.

The Colt State Park Farmers' Market is open every Friday from 2 PM to 6 PM through October 27. The Colt State Park Farmers' Market is one of 14 farmers markets located throughout the State. A complete list of farmers markets is available online at www.dem.state.ri.us/org/agric/markets.htm.


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