Rep. Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh/Northampton) today applauded the award of $5,000 in funding from the federal government for the promotion of farmers markets in the Lehigh Valley.

"Farmers markets are a treasure in every community fortunate enough to have one," said Harhart. "They are a source of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are essential to a healthy diet. Funding to help promote and expand Pennsylvania farmers markets will help more residents take advantage of the many locally grown foods we have access to in the Commonwealth."

Harhart noted that the grant money is made available as a matching grant through the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program authorized under the Farm Bill.

In Northampton County, $5,000 had been awarded to Nurture Nature Center for the promotion of farmers markets and farm stands throughout the Lehigh Valley. Nurture Nature Center is a nonprofit organization located in Easton that is devoted to enhancing local communities and has been a champion of Pennsylvania's Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign.

"By better promoting our area farmers markets and stands, we will be able to reach the many Pennsylvania residents who actively look for ways to support local farmers and buy local products, " said Harhart. "This a is win-win for farmers and consumers."

To find a farmers market near you, go to www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on "Online Services," then "Farm Markets and Farm Stands."