A farmers market is a public and recurring assembly of farmers or their representatives, selling directly to consumers food which they have produced themselves. More specifically, a farmers market operates multiple times per year and is organized for the purpose of facilitating personal connections that create mutual benefits for local farmers, shoppers, and communities. To fulfill that objective a farmers market defines the term local, regularly communicates that definition to the public, and implement rules/guidelines of operation that ensure that the farmers market consists principally of farms selling directly to the public products that the farms have produced. Some states have even established their own formal definitions which specify market characteristics in more detail. The number of farmers markets in the United States has steadily grown to more than 7,500 registered in the USDA Farmers Market Directory in 2012.