If there is one thing I’m passionate about, it’s local food & farmers markets! I was a farmer for almost 15 years, and most of that time a farmers market vendor. I know what it’s like to be on both sides of the table~ as a vendor, and a market manager.
My heart is most at home in the garden & the farmers markets. Today I will talk to you about my heart felt desire to inspire every person to shop at the farmers market. When you do you are supporting local producers, your local economy, help the sustainability of farmland, and so much more!
Maybe you’ve even been contemplating becoming a market vendor! Do you create, bake, grow, or develop something? Well, a farmers market might be your first step to a successful business start up. Farmers markets are great starting points for local entrepreneurs!
I want this podcast to inspire you… please let me know in the comments below if I did!
One of my favorite things to do is attend area farmers markets. Whenever I travel I immediately look up any surrounding farmers markets, and you better believe if we can attend, we do!
Here are my Top 5 reasons to support our local farmers markets.
1. Support your local economy by supporting your local farmers & entrepreneurs!
As educated consumers we want to know where our food is coming from. We’re tired of food being mass produced on assembly lines with labels sporting names of ingredients that can’t even be pronounced. We want clean & healthy food locally sourced & grown. Where do you get this great stuff you ask? You get it at your local farmers market!
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Released August 17, 2020, “On an average market day, 916 households shopped across markets in the U.S. and spent $14,547 per farmers market. Farmers Market Managers served as paid employees in 4,321 markets, while in 3,162 they served as volunteers. On average, the paid Farmers Market Managers earned $18.40 per hour. Managers worked an average of 19.4 hours per week. “ Taken from https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/pz50hd694/gx41n598k/jd473j98z/nfar0820.pdf
2. Support your local farmers & entrepreneurs!
Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Small businesses can get their product out to a fresh target market at a very reasonable cost. Markets can eliminate the need for a brick and mortar facility and all the expenses associated with it. Most importantly, it allows customers to build relationships with producers. You can see the positive impact of supporting local from this infographic for the Kalamazoo Michigan Farmers Market.
3. Explore new varieties of fresh fruits & veggies, & other healthy foods!
I’ve often been asked, “What’s an Heirloom?” or told “I’ve never seen a purple carrot!!!” Well, you’ll find a plethora of Heirloom varieties including purple carrots at most farmers markets!
Tomatoes are by far the hottest item in the Heirloom market, but there are several varieties of eggplant, squash, carrots, beans, and so much more.
Besides providing a wide range of fresh fruit and veggies, you’ll be dazzled by a slew of delicious baked goods, dairy, egg and meat products, honey and maple syrup, body care products, both fresh and dried herbs, along with all types of artisan products. Some of these include handcrafted baskets, wooden bowls and cutting boards, as well as beautiful pottery, jewelry and several forms of art media. Pricing is typically very reasonable when compared to brick and mortar stores. Everything at the market is fresh from that day or the day before, unlike grocery store produce which has been shipped and transported for days.
Many markets incorporate kid’s programming, cooking demos, health fairs, & live music, to name just a few! The reason is simple: it is every market’s mission to provide healthy, nutritious, reasonably priced food to all people.
The farmers market is an ideal project for every community to incorporate. It promotes healthy eating, and enables community members to build relationships with their local producers.
One incredible program many farmers markets offer is The Power of Produce Club (POP Club). The POP Club provides both an educational & entertaining opportunity for children to engage in their market with the opportunity to discuss produce with the market farmers while exposing them to new & unique fruits and vegetables. ” In addition to participating in educational activities, POP Club kids receive vouchers to spend at the market, allowing them to make their own shopping decisions at the market.”
Ask your farmers market manager if this is available, if not tell them how to participate!
5. Connect with your community!
Farmers markets provide a place where the community can come together, meet and shop locally. The market is a gathering place for friends and family. Markets offer fresh products locally produced, face-to-face interaction with producers and artisans, live entertainment, family activities, all the while supporting the local economy.
“According to the USDA, Farmers Markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grow the produce.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article. Please like it & leave me a comment! Let me know what your favorite farmers market is, and where it’s located! I’d love to visit if I’m ever in the area! Maybe we can meet up for a coffee!
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