There are so many benefits of farmers markets that we just had to share them with you! We’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons to shop farmers’ markets, for the benefit of you, your community, and the greater environment. Big change starts by taking small action, so find a farmers market nearby today!
It helps the bees!
Shopping at farmers’ markets helps the bees! Industrial farming methods use pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides when growing their produce which has had a heavy toll on bees and other pollinators. Smaller farming productions and family farms often employ more sustainable and organic farming practices that protect our valuable bee communities. When you shop farmers’ markets, you help save the bees!
Support local families when you shop farmers’ markets.
Let’s be real. Would you rather support the big box store or would you rather support your neighbor who is pursuing their lifelong dream of making jams and jellies? The vendors at farmers’ markets are often family operations and people just dreaming of a better world for their families and communities.
By supporting the small business owners in your community, like when you shop farmers’ markets, are helping put their daughter in soccer cleats and their son in saxophone practice. Support small businesses because you’re supporting local families.
Benefit from peak growing season.
When you shop at farmers’ markets, you buy produce at the peak growing season. There has been some talk among nutritionists that eating seasonally is beneficial to our health. The thought behind it is that lighter fare such as berries, lettuces, and fruits are available during the summer, and heavier, more dense foods such as squash, pumpkins, and potatoes become available during the fall and winter months when temperatures are colder and our bodies need more sustenance. Also, the ripest produce has the most flavor and the most nutrients.
Freshest produce when you shop farmers’ markets.
Generally, produce sold at farmers’ markets has been picked within a 24-48 hour period of it being sold at the market. With traditional grocery stores, the produce might not hit the shelves until a full week or longer after it was picked. When you shop farmers’ markets you get a fresher item from closer to you.
Keep your money in your community
When you shop farmers’ markets you keep your dollars in your community. More than 85% of farmers’ markets vendors travel less than 50 miles to where they sell produce. This keeps tax dollars going back into your region, plus the farmers’ who you purchase from generally spend their profits in your area as well, helping to boost the local economy.
Big grocery stores need big farm suppliers. Industrial farming practices often favor monoculture, meaning a single field only grows one type of crop. These practices are hard on the soil and drain essential nutrients over time. Also, modern farming practices are heavy on pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that pollute the ecosystem.
The vendors at farmers’ markets are much smaller farming operations and are more focused on the environment they are working in. Small farming operations are often more in tune with environmentally sustainable practices, including offering organic and sustainably grown produce. When you choose to shop farmers’ markets, you’re choosing to help support a clean environment.
Learn something when you shop farmers’ markets
You might just learn something when you shop farmers’ markets! The small business owners and farmers are often the ones tending the booths at the markets, so take the opportunity to talk to them! As the makers, they know the very best way to fry their cheese curds or more ideas on how to cook parsnips. Michael Pollan, author of New York Times Best Seller, In Defense of Food, says “Shake the hand that feeds you.” Meeting the people who grow the food you eat is a great place to start figuring out a better path through our food system.
Produce at farmers’ market often comes with reduced packaging, again reducing your carbon footprint. Plastic packing is natural resource expensive to produce and fills our landfills at an alarming rate. Did you know 60 million plastic water bottles end up in our landfills or incinerators every day? Bring your canvas tote bags and mason jars to fill with goodies when you shop farmers’ markets.
Variety is the spice of life
Expand your palette and embrace the variety! Small farmers tend to grow fruits and vegetables in more varieties than you’ll ever find in traditional grocery stores. When you shop farmers’ markets you might find things you didn’t know existed or could be eaten, like squash flowers, blue eggs, or buffalo jerky.