I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVE shopping at my local farmer’s market.
I get to interact with some of the local farmers and support their efforts while asking them questions about how to grow food. Farming isn’t a glamorous career choice and often enough, the individuals who put their time and effort into growing food with integrity don’t exactly rake in the big bucks.
Offering my support to these individuals with my wallet, and my words is the least I can do to bring awareness to the hard work they are doing..
…but the truth is that supporting your local farmers will benefit you in many ways as well.
The Benefits of Shopping at Your Local Farmer’s Market
When you shop at your local farmer’s market, you are positively impacting your health, your wallet and your community.
Once a fruit or vegetable is picked (removed from its life source), it starts to lose valuable nutrients right away. When you purchase your produce from the grocery store, you could be looking at several days, if not longer between when the food was picked until it gets to your plate.
When you think about how far your produce has to travel in order to get to the store (sometimes from halfway across the country – or from a different country altogether), you can’t help but to realize that you aren’t getting the amount of nutrients out of your food that is required for optimal health.
On the other hand, when your produce was grown and picked from a local farm, your food wouldn’t have had to travel nearly as far, nor as long to get to you (perhaps only hours or a day or so in some cases). You are getting far more nutritional value out of food that is picked locally than if it had to travel a long distance.
The impact this has on our health is huge. Getting as much nutritional value out of our food is obviously important, which is why we choose to eat healthy in the first place.
So when it comes to the ingredients that go into that salad of yours…wouldn’t it be nice to know that it’s serving the purpose it’s intended for – which is to nourish you properly?
Of course it is.
This is why when it comes to buying produce – local is better.
Now we have already discussed that when your food comes from the local farmer’s market, it doesn’t have to travel as far.
With less traveling expenses (and the middleman) out of the picture, there is room for a better price to go to the consumer.
Speaking from my own personal experience, I have seen red bell peppers sell at the grocery store for $3.99 a pound. At my local farmer’s market, I have picked them up for $1.69 or less a pound.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most local farmers usually stick with what’s in season. When your buying habits follow this pattern, your farmers are in a position to give you a great price since there is an abundance of product available.
To find out more about what produce is in season in your state, visit this site.
Some people stock up on whatever is in season and then freeze or can the extras to ensure there is plenty of affordable food in their home throughout the year.
This isn’t a half bad idea – and may be something to think about.
Shopping from your local farmer’s market is an excellent way to support your community as well as the farmers themselves.
Think about it…
If the farmers have enough demand for their product, it will obviously create the need for additional help.
They would most likely look to hire local delivery drivers, help at the farm and people to work at the market themselves.
And who will they hire for these jobs?
Yep – you guessed it. Locals.
Shopping at your local farmers markets puts your dollars back into your community. When the people in your neighborhood have jobs, it positively impacts the economy in your neck of the woods – and naturally this is beneficial for everyone involved.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when natural disasters hit (and they do in most, if not all areas at least sometimes), food shortages happen.
I know it isn’t pleasant to think about, but it is what it is and we may as well face it.
Supporting your local farmers is an excellent way to keep food growing in your community. If/and/or when food shortages becomes an issue, having people around who know how to grow food will serve as an asset to everyone as long as humans maintain an attitude of cooperation and decide to work together.
It sure beats waiting around for help – which may or may come in time in some cases.
How to Find Your Local Farmer’s Market
Searching for a farmer’s market is relatively easy.
You can go online and do a search for local markets in your area.
Many cities hold “green” markets during the weekends where local people get together and sell produce in addition to other items such as baked goods, homemade sauces, teas, smoothies, soaps and other fun products.
If your neighborhood doesn’t have a farmer’s market yet, I encourage you to get one started. I would imagine you’ll find others in your area who would love to have access to fresh produce…and it just may take a few of you spark enough interest to get the ball rolling.
Do you shop at your local farmer’s market?
Image credit goes to Occupy.com