Supporting farmers markets has a high positive impact on your individual heath, animals, the community, and the planet. Here are eight good reasons to give it a try:
1. Highly Nourishing Foods
Most of our “food” found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have negative effects on human health. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques and picking produce right before the market.
2. Sustainable Practices for the Environment
Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,000-2,000 miles to get to your dinner table. The shipping alone uses substantial amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. The processing methods of conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture. Not to mention, this process pollutes our water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products.
Fruits and vegetables from the farmers market is transported 1/10 the distance in most cases and is mostly grown using methods that minimize the damage we are making on the planet.
3. Promote Humane Living Conditions of Animals
I know we’re vegetarians here, but many of us are disgusted at the inhumane practices of industrialized meat production. At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been treated humanely, raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets. Most of them have also been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages.
4. Taste What Real Food Used to Taste Like
The fruits and veggies you buy at the farmers market are fresh and flavorful. Nothing compares. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you—no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no long-distance shipping, no sitting for weeks in storage. This is what real food tastes like—fresh from the farm.
5. Support Local FamilyFarmers
Since large agribusinesses dominate food production in the U.S., small family farms have a hard time competing in the marketplace. Buying directly from farmers helps correct a collective error that our society has made with the industrialization practices that are ultimately hurting us. It’s frightening to think what our future looks like without small family farms, they need our support.
6. Know Where Your Food Comes From
A regular trip to a farmers market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced.
7. Foods Not Available in Most Grocery Stores
At the farmers market you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average grocery store: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, stinging nettles, green garlic, watermelon radishes, quail eggs, maitake mushrooms, and more. It is a wonderful opportunity to savor the biodiversity of our planet.
8. Build Community
Coming to the farmers market is more like therapeutic experience than it is shopping. And, it is place to meet up with the other members of your local community (a practice that’s almost extinct in modern times).