Tensions ran high in at least five communities recently, during the final day of the "Love Your Farmers Market" contest, sponsored by LocalHarvest and Care2. After weeks of impressive campaigning, there was a shuffling of the top placeholders even on the last day of the contest. Jan Smith, manager of the Fernandina Beach (Florida) market, campaigned hard until the last day. Up in Carrboro, North Carolina, market manager Sarah Blacklin put out another appeal on the local radio station, reminding would-be voters that the contest was about to end.
Winner of the $5,000 first prize was none other than Flint Farmers' Market in Flint, Michigan, with a strong showing of support at 6,083 votes. Other markets won the weekly drawing prizes of $250.
Second place went to Smith’s market, the Fernandina Farmers’ Market in Fernandina Beach, Florida. The third-place winner was Carrboro Farmers’ Market, Carrboro, North Carolina, managed by Sarah Blacklin. Midtown Farmers' Market in Minneapolis was the fourth-place winner, and Market Square Farmers’ Market, Knoxville, Tennessee, rounded out the top five.
According to LocalHarvest.org, the interesting thing about the contest winners is that the top three markets are so different. The contest winners page includes a description of each market, its strategies for winning this contest, and the community it serves.
All told, 98,147 people cast a vote in this contest, and, with their vote, nearly 65,000 people posted a short review of their favorite market on LocalHarvest's website. Organizers expressed gratitude to Care2 for its partnership on the contest and for putting together the package of prizes.
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