For ten years now I have been volunteering to help organize and run a farmers' market in my town. I have witnessed first hand the effects that this market has had on my community, and I know that farmers' markets in other communities are leaving the same impact. Farmers' markets make a difference. Here is why.
August 2nd-8th is National Farmers Market Week. Lead: The first week of August is National Farmers Market Week. Visit the USDA Farmers Markets Directory to find a market near you.
5 Reasons Why Every Community Needs a Farmers' Market
1. Good for everyone's health Whether a farmers' market is located in a city, or a rural area, it provides a wealth of health and health related education. How? Markets bring affordable, fresh, produce to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. That's right, farmers' market produce is AFFORDABLE. Fruits & veggies direct from the farm are not as expensive as everyone thinks! Plus, many farmers' markets today take SNAP, WIC, and senior vouchers. As far as education goes, most farmers will tell you how to cook or prepare an item if asked, and some even provide recipes. I confess I did not know what a kohlrabi was until I saw one at the market and asked about how to cook it! Don't be afraid, they have been asked everything, trust me! Many markets even have health themed days where health care professionals are on hand for blood pressure screenings and more.
2. Supports local agriculture Farmers' markets were started as a way for local farmers to get their products to consumers more directly. Many people think that local agriculture is only supported by purchasing fruits and veggies, but this is far from true! Local agriculture can be seen in other places at the market: the vendor selling local beef, the vendor selling chicken and eggs, the vendor selling honey, the vendor selling goat milk soaps and lotions, the vendor selling alpaca yarn…. local agriculture is everywhere!
3. Supports local businesses Today's farmers' markets support more than just local farmers, local businesses are getting a boom as well, and in more ways than one. Local businesses and artisans sell their goods at a market. Food trucks have made it convenient for local restaurants to bring their menus to consumers. Local bakeries sell breads and sweets at market booths. Local artists and crafters can have a booth to sell their wares. Businesses located near to the farmers' market benefit from the market traffic as well.
4. Brings together the community I absolutely LOVE how our local famers' market has brought together our community! Local organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are involved in our special events, providing activities for kids. Community organizations are encouraged to use our market as a way to get the word out on their events, fundraisers, and more. People stop by the market not only to purchase items, but to meet friends for lunch, and to hang out and listen to music. People have also been brought together through volunteering at the market. Every market needs volunteers.
5. Provides affordable family fun Most farmers' markets have theme days with fun (and free!) events provided for all ages. There could be musical entertainment, speakers, performers, arts and crafts tables, and more! Check the website or Facebook page of your local farmers' market to see when their next event is.