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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service today issued four colorful stamps saluting America’s farmers markets during a first-day-of-issue ceremony held at the FRESHFARM Market by the White House.
“For years the Postal Service has celebrated — through the power of stamps — America’s agricultural abundance,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “Postage stamps have depicted fruit, flowers, corn and a bread wagon. Today, we’re celebrating farmers markets, which are a popular and communal pastime for many Americans, with the issuance of these four beautiful stamps.”
Also attending the event was Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Farmers markets have a long history of connecting customers directly with the people that grow our food," Vilsack said. "Across the country, farmers markets play a key role in the sustainability of family farms, revitalizing communities and helping to grow rural and urban economies."
Customers may purchase the stamps at usps.com/stamps, the Postal Store, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide or visit ebay.com/stampsto shop for a wide variety of postage stamps and collectibles.
The new limited-edition Farmers Markets Forever stamps depict a table laden with products found at a typical farmers market. The stamp on the far left shows various baked goods, artisan cheeses and eggs. The produce on the second stamp includes vegetables and fruits. Cut flowers adorn the third stamp. The stamp on the far right features live plants. Most items bear handwritten labels that identify the product and its price. Art director Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, designed the stamps, which were illustrated by Robin Moline of Lakeland, MN.
Joining Donahoe and Vilsack to commemorate the stamp were Bernadine Prince, co-founder and co-executive director, FRESHFARM Markets and president, Farmers Market Coalition; Jim Crawford, farmer/owner of New Morning Farm, an organic farm in Houstontown, PA; and Robin Moline, stamp artist.
Farmers Markets are not a new idea. For the first 200 years after European colonists arrived in America, markets were the only means for farmers to sell their wares to the public — and for town residents to buy food. Markets also provided communities with an informal gathering place where neighbors and friends could share stories and socialize.
As cities and towns grew in the 19th century, farms were pushed farther away from population hubs, and farmers began shipping products into urban areas by rail. Markets became permanent stores that sold goods to customers without any direct contact between producers and consumers. In the 20th century, many small farms struggled, and more and more, large distributors supplied food through supermarket chains. Many municipal markets were demolished, and the numbers of farmers markets dwindled.
In 1976, Congress passed the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act, which enabled the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop programs that resulted in the growth of farmers markets. By 1994, there were around 1,750 farmers markets listed in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. Since that time, the number of markets listed has soared, to well over 8,200.
Customers may view many of this year’s other stamps on Facebook facebook.com/USPSStamps, Twitter@USPSstamps, Pinterest pinterest.com/uspsstamps, Instagraminstagram.com/uspostalservice or on uspsstamps.com, the Postal Service’s online site for information on upcoming stamp subjects, first-day-of-issue events and other philatelic news.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, the price is five cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Oct. 6, 2014.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
There are 10 philatelic products for this stamp issue:
- 472506, Press Sheet with die cuts, $49.00 (print quantity 1,000)
- 472508, Press Sheet without die cuts, $49.00 (print quantity 1,000)
- 472510, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (Set of 4), $16.95
- 472516, First-Day Cover (Set of 4), $3.72
- 472521, Digital Color Postmark (Set of 4), $6.56
- 472523, Notecards, $13.95
- 472524, Framed Art, $39.95
- 472530, Ceremony Program, $6.95
- 472531, Stamped Deck Card, 95 cents
- 472532, Stamped Deck Card with Digital Color Postmark, $1.99
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
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About FRESHFARM Markets
FRESHFARM Markets is a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C. whose mission is to build and strengthen the local, sustainable food movement in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. FRESHFARM Markets operates 11 producer-only farmers markets that provide vital economic opportunities for local farmers and artisanal producers, and outreach programs that educate the public about food and related environmental issues. These farmers markets include more than 150 farmers and producers from five states who farm more than 12,000 acres. The markets attract over 406,000 shoppers annually in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. FRESHFARM Markets is the leading voice for farmers markets in the Chesapeake Bay region and a national leader in the local food movement. Find out more.