Farmers Markets have become a more common presence in cities both big and small and communities have been encouraging the development of local farmers and producers in recent years in an effort to promote a healthier and more economically sound lifestyle.
There is a growing understanding of how important local farmers markets are for communities and increasing numbers of people are turning to them for their daily grocery shopping needs because of the many advantages they offer.
What Are Farmers Markets?
A local farmers market is usually a smaller food market where producers, growers, and farmers from the area come together to showcase and sell their goods to consumers. Products found at local farmers market are fresh and organically grown and come from the same region where they are being sold. They bring together producers and buyers belonging to the same community and encourage them to conduct their activity locally in order to aid sustainable agriculture in the area. There are many good consequences to creating and supporting farmers markets. If you’re still not sure of why it’s a good idea to do so, here are some of the most important reasons why they are a great idea for every community.
1. Fresher Fruit and Vegetables
The food that you can buy at your local farmers market is fresher than the products typically found in supermarkets because it is grown locally and it is picked right before being brought to the market and sold to you. That is impossible to accomplish for food found in larger supermarkets since the fruit and vegetables you find there have been shipped in from a different location.
2. Supporting Your Local Economy
One of the main purposes of local farmers markets is to encourage people to buy products from local merchants directly and to cut out middlemen. This not only means that the farmers won’t have to sell their products to bigger stores that will profit from selling it, but it also ensures that the farmers in your community will get your money. This means that the money spent at farmers markets goes directly back into the local economy and helps it thrive.
3. Seasonal Produce
Shopping at local organic farmers markets means buying only food that is in season and guarantees that you have a diverse and healthy diet since the food available is always fresh. While it’s true that you can find great variety in supermarkets that wide range of available fruits and vegetables comes at a price. In order to ship in all the different products at the same time and always have them on the shelves, the fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe to also account for the time it takes to transport them to the supermarket. Unfortunately, this practice decreases their nutritional value.
4. Safe food
One massive advantage you get from shopping at your local farmers market is that you always know where and how your food is grown. You can ask the farmers in your area exactly how the produce that they are selling is grown, what fertilizers and pesticides they use and you can see the farm and the produce for yourself if you’re interested in finding out more. Disease outbreaks are less likely to happen on small local farms as well since more care is involved in producing food this way than in the case of industrial settings.
5. Environmentally friendly practices
The fact that you buy produce from your local farmers means that you help support sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture. Importing food involves massive consumption of fossil fuels which negatively affects the environment so the shorter the transport distance between you and your food is, the less harmful the transportation process is for the planet. Sustainable agricultural projects focus on utilizing the natural resources that an area has, on one hand, and on encouraging local farmers to grow fresh produce depending on the available resources, on the other.
6. The Humane Treatment of Animals
Every time I go to the local farmers market near me I get this feeling of ease because I know that I’ll be buying and eating some delicious meat, eggs, and milk from people that haven’t abused animals. Industrial animal farms have been the subject of scrutiny more than once because of the cruel practices that they employ when handling the animals. Buying meat, eggs, cheese, and milk from local farmers ensures that the animals from which these products come have been raised in a free range environment. This means that the products are not only healthier but also that they will have better taste and quality. The most important reason why local farmers markets are the place to go for any animal products is that local farmers and merchants ensure the humane treatment of animals. If you don’t believe them, you can always drive up to the farm and see for yourself.
7. Having Great Variety
Local farmers markets usually offer a great variety of produce and shopping from different merchants means that you have access to different preparation techniques and different recipes in the same place. You can try many products that you wouldn’t normally find in a supermarket and you can experiment with new items for your meals. Growers may use different methods to grow their vegetables and fruits so the same fruit can have different tastes depending on the farmer that you’re buying it from, which offers you great variety anytime you shop.
8. Cheaper Organic Fruits and Vegetables
Low-priced fruits and vegetables are available in a wide variety at local farmers markets and they are often grown without using pesticides and herbicides. So, they will be a healthier alternative to the produce you can find in supermarkets even if they are not always labeled as organic. Some farmers don’t choose to classify their produce as being organic because of the complicated process that they need to go through in order to do so and the costs that come with it but they still grow fruits and vegetables without pesticides at a lower price.
9. Better Taste and Higher Nutritional Values
It’s no secret that freshly grown, organic fruits, and vegetables taste better than the GMO alternatives that you can often find on supermarket shelves. Since no additives are used to produce organic food, the produce that you will find at a farmers market local to your area will taste significantly better and will have higher nutritional values because it has been picked at the right time and supplied to consumers immediately after that.
10. Supporting Family Farms and Your Community
A very important thing to remember when you find local farmers markets and wonder whether you should give them a try is that by shopping from local suppliers you support small family farms in your own community. The money spent at local farmers market will be reused and funneled back into your local economy by going directly to the people that grow the fruits and vegetables you buy. Supporting your local farmers markets means that you are connecting with and supporting the people in your community and the families that make their living from selling their produce there.