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ICBA and Farmers Market Coalition Join Forces: Encouraging Consumers to Bank, Shop and Dine Locally

Just in time for ICBA Community Banking Month and the opening of farmers markets across the country

Washington, D.C. (April 23, 2013)—The Independent Community Bankers of America ® (ICBA) and the Farmers Market Coalition announced today that they are joining forces for ICBA Community Banking Month and for the opening of farmers markets across the country. Their goal is to help educate consumers on the benefits of building a more sustainable local community and life by banking, shopping and dining locally.
“Community banks have helped local farmers and small businesses grow for years, so working with the Farmers Market Coalition to spread the positive Go Local message makes just as much sense now as it would have 50 or 100 years ago,” said Bill Loving, ICBA chairman and president and CEO of Pendleton Community Bank in Franklin, W.Va. “By banking, shopping and dining locally, consumers can make a big impact in their lives and in the lives of their neighbors—all while helping to build a more sustainable and robust local economy, which means more local jobs and more local prosperity.”

In addition to supporting resilient local economies and agricultural livelihoods, farmers markets provide fresh, nutritious food directly to their communities. Amid the colorful, talkative bustle in these markets, relationships are built, healthy habits are forged, farms thrive, knowledge is shared and new food enterprises are sparked. Since 2000, the number of recorded farmers markets has grown from 2,863 markets in 2000 to more than 7,800 in 2012. As demand grows for fresh local food and shoppers seek relationships with the farms that make such food possible, farmers markets represent an important retail option that bolsters local economies in communities large and small.

Community banks, which are locally based financial institutions that take in and lend deposits locally, have consistently been the largest provider of agricultural credit within the commercial banking sector. In fact, community banks with assets under $10 billion provide more than 75 percent of all commercial bank agricultural loans, and banks with assets less than $1 billion provide nearly 60 percent of all commercial bank agricultural financing. Also, because community banks are small businesses themselves, they have the added advantage of being able to help their agricultural and small business customers understand the unique dynamics of their local marketplace, helping them through good and bad times to build a plan for success.  
This spring and summer, ICBA and FMC will spotlight successful partnerships between community banks and farmers markets across the country. As part of ICBA’s Go Local initiative, the  success stories will highlight these mutually beneficial relationships, while educating the broader consumer base on the benefits of banking, shopping, and dining locally.
To find a community bank near you, visit ICBA’s community bank locator at www.banklocally.org. Simply type in your ZIP code and the app will show you all the community banks in your area. You can even download free ICBA locator apps for your iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. For more information about farmers markets and their impact on communities nationwide, visit www.farmersmarketcoalition.org.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.

About FMC
The Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to strengthening farmers markets for the mutual benefit of farmers, consumers, and communities. FMC strives to build a strong national network of farmers market organizations, provide professional development opportunities for continuous market improvement, and better understand and communicate farmers market impacts to the public. For more information, visit www.farmersmarketcoalition.org.

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