Our community is fortunate to have a local farmers market. If you haven’t shopped there before, consider the many advantages of patronizing our local merchants.
Farmers markets have gained popularity in the last few years as more and more consumers have come to enjoy the very fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods, eggs, dairy products, poultry and meats they offer. Farmers markets provide other benefits as well—to shoppers and local economies, as well as to the environment. Locally grown produce requires less fossil fuel to transport, which reduces pollution and noise, and less packaging—thus, less trash—than what is found in most supermarkets. And more often than not, farmers markets offer organically grown or pesticide-free produce, which is better for the environment as well as better for consumers’ health.
Farmers markets also stimulate local economies by providing a secure place for small-scale local producers to sell their products, and a regular cash flow to local farmers. And when local farmers and producers prosper, they are better able to support other types of local businesses. Some retailers adjacent to farmers markets have seen an increase in their own sales by as much as 30 percent on market days.
Another advantage to having a farmers market in our community is the social interaction between urban and rural residents, as well as between neighbors. A source of “information and inspiration on how to prepare fresh ingredients,” farmers markets can help consumers better understand nutrition and the value of fresh food.
The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown to more than 6,000 and has increased by 16 percent since 2009, according the National Farmers Market Directory. More than 20,000 farmers participate in farmers markets throughout the country. Most U.S. farmers markets are located in California, New York, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa, but the numbers are on the rise in other states, such as Missouri, Minnesota, Idaho, Michigan and Indiana.
To find farmers markets other than our own and specific products that are available by season and by state, visit the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) website at http://www.simplesteps.org/eat-localShare This: