Spring will be blooming before you know it! Not far behind it will be the farmer’s market. I love visiting different farmer’s markets to check out all of the local farmer’s goods. Not all towns have markets, but there are more of them popping up every year. Not only is the farmer’s market a great place to buy produce, but it’s also a really great way to meet the people in your community.
It’s obvious that people shop their local markets to buy local produce, but have you considered any of the other benefits that come with it? There really are several benefits to shopping local markets. Some of the reasons may seem small but all the little things add up in the end. There certainly aren’t many, if any, cons to shopping at your local markets. Let’s jump right in!
1. Supporting Your Community: When you choose to buy produce or any other goods from your local farmer or gardener you are choosing to directly support a member and their family within your area. Consider this: if that same farmer used a little cash they made from your purchase to then buy goods from another vendor at the market, that support is now spread throughout your community.
2. Knowing Where It Grows: When you buy local, there’s a big possibility that you have driven past one of the fields where the food is grown. You get to see where it grows, how it’s grown and who’s growing it. Further, those who participate as vendors in farmer’s markets are most often local (or at least regional) and are able to give you the story behind your food.
3. Barter & Trade Options: Not all farmers and gardeners grow the same produce, which means there is a possibility to barter and trade for various goods. Not only are some of them willing to barter and trade produce, but there is an endless amount of other goods to consider.
4. Networking With Neighbors: Networking can be very beneficial for many reasons – one of the main ones being in order to help each other. The connections made at local markets can last a lifetime and it truly helps to build a strong foundation for the future of the community.
5. Freshest Produce Available: More often than not, the farmers are only driving 5-50 miles from their farms where the food is grown and harvested the evening before or the morning of the market. This means you’re getting the freshest produce available.
6. Reducing Carbon Footprint: When you shop at the farmers’ market, there is less of a negative environmental impact than when you buy from big corporations. As previously mentioned, your produce usually only travels a short distance. Not only are the carbon emissions from the vehicle lessened, but commercial crops require a lot of heavy equipment and pesticides.
7. More Organic Options: The possibility of finding organic produce is much more likely at a farmer’s market than at a grocery store. Many of the local farmers aim to please the people and want to provide chemical-free produce.
If you would like to see a farmer’s market in your area, why not get one started? Just like with starting a business, there are steps that need to be taken and issues that need to be addressed – but if there are enough people in your neighborhood that are interested in the idea, then there isn’t a whole lot that can stand in your way. Every area will have its own requirements and regulations but this link is a good place to get some general information. The National Farmer's Market Directory is a great place to search for local markets in your area.
A farmer’s market is an awesome addition to any community and with it comes an enormous amount of benefits. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to shop local – some people do it because it’s cheaper while other people might have a deeper-rooted cause – either way, it is a great decision to make. If you’ve never been to a market in your area I suggest trying to make a visit this season -- you never know what you’ll find!