Farmers markets have been around for ages. Now more than ever, their popularity is making quite a comeback. Not only are farmers markets important gathering places and amazing settings to take the family to enjoy fresh, local food and crafts, farmers markets (on many levels) could be extremely important to a healthy future. Some would say supporting farmers markets means supporting the health of the planet. But how could that even be possible?
Well, there’s many reasons why farmers markets should thrive. And it’s not just about the environment, it’s also about our economy, the people, and everyone’s health, too. To sum up:
Supporting farmers markets means supporting low “carbon footprint” food.
Most food you purchase at grocery stores and supermarkets (fruits, vegetables, meat) typically has to be shipped there, sometimes from thousands of miles away by truck or plane. On the other hand, food from a farmers market comes from only a few hundred miles away at most.
Compare these two: which food consumes more energy, and creates more pollution?
Buying your food from farmers markets is the lesser of the two, by far.
Supporting farmers markets means supporting local farmers.
If you’re passionate about supporting farmers, then the best way to do it is buying from them directly. If you’re especially supportive of organic or regenerative farmers working hard to heal the planet by reducing erosion, taking care of topsoil, healing the land, etc. then direct support is essential to their survival! One of the best places to support farmers: at farmers markets.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and direct sales are great ways, too — if you can’t make it to a market, but you know of farmers in your region. Even buying the same food from farmers at a grocery store or coop means a “cut” has been taken from the farmer’s product. If you want local farmers to get the most out of your dollar (and for that dollar to stay in YOUR economy and community), spend it at their farmers market stand!
You support the most nutritious and healthiest foods available.
Lots of evidence shows that locally produced food tends to be healthier for you, and there are a few reasons for this. For one: local producers choose to grow food varieties that not only taste better, but are more nutrient-rich, too. On the other hand, producers abroad (who must ship their foods to market) grow varieties that are geared more towards shelf life, shipping, handling, and sitting for long periods on grocery store shelves.
The tradeoff for fruits and vegetables that last longer? They contain less natural sugar, flavor, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In fact, non-local fruit and vegetable varieties grown to be shipped and sit on shelves are highest in water content more than anything else — and they’re not as healthy as they could be!
Even with one single purchase of a food item at your local farmers market, you’re reducing pollution, purchasing healthier food, and supporting your local economy and community. You’re also supporting one of the most important figures helping heal the planet today: the small regenerative or organic farmer who is working hard to heal the land while feeding the people.