Too much of the world’s best farm land is used for purposes that have nothing to do with producing food. We mine it, build cities on it and turn it into golf courses.
Even where we farm it, we often destroy soil fertility and poison waterways with practices that focus on profit instead of sustainability. Many of the small farms that supply farmers’ markets adhere to principles that value and care for the land, preserving it for future generations.
Unlike the anonymous suppliers of food on supermarket shelves, the farmers who grow for local markets are available to answer our questions. They are usually eager to talk about environmental issues in agriculture.
4. Food Security
The only community that is truly food secure is one that can grow its own food. Mangos in Alaska and pineapple in Maine are delicious additions to our diets. They also create trade opportunities.
What they don’t do is ensure our ability to feed ourselves in Alaska or Maine. If weather shifts, trade disruptions or expensive transportation make them unavailable, we still need to eat. Supporting and encouraging local agriculture is an insurance policy.
Farmers’ markets support local economies. Money spent there recirculates in the community many times over. That helps create community.
The markets are also gathering places, where you get to know the vendors and stop to chat with friends and neighbors who also shop there. Make weekly visits to a nearby farmers’ market, and you will feel part of community of like-minded people.
Tomorrow: The Myth of High-Priced Farmers’ Markets
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Photo credit: Cathryn Wellner
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