Support the Local Economy through Your Farmers Market

In the spirit of the Love Your Farmers Market Contest, sponsored by Care2 and LocalHarvest, let’s talk about why we love our farmers market. I know I love fresh produce simply because it’s delicious. But there are more benefits to hitting up the local farmers market than meets the taste buds. 

As Michael Shuman explains in Going Local and The Small-Mart Revolution, we need to localize our economy, meaning we can save a lot of money if we buy more from inside our community instead of from big corporations. Here’s an example: If you spend $100 at Borders, $13 ends up in the local economy. If you spend $100 at a local bookstore, $45 ends up in the local economy. This is because the local bookstore has local management, local accountants, local lawyers, local advertising and local profits, so there are three times as many jobs, tax collections, etc.

As our world has become more globalized, local food systems have been compromised. Shuman explains that we have neglected the distribution points that connected farmers with local markets. 100 years ago, if you spent a dollar on food at a market, about 40 cents would go to the farmer and the rest would go to inputs and marketing. Today, when you spent a dollar, about 7 cents goes to the farmer and 71 cents goes to marketing, which includes refrigeration, packaging, advertising, distributors, etc. But economics are increasingly favoring local foods- even tiny scale farming can deliver cheaper food because they save most of the 71 cents that would go to marketing (not to mention that it saves a lot of energy by cutting out transportation for distribution). This is where community-supported agriculture and farmers markets come into play.

So go to your farmers market and support your local community! If you are interested in making a bigger difference, think about using a local landlord and a local bank. The key is to build networks of local businesses that can compete with big corporations like Wal-Mart. But we have to start somewhere, so why not start with the produce at your local farmers market?

15 comments

LMj Sunshine

The closest farmers market is too far to help local.

LMj Sunshine

The closest farmers market is too far to help local.

LMj Sunshine

The closest farmers market is too far to help local.

Nikolas Karman
Nikolas K.7 years ago

Community support, love and sharing is the only way for us to survive because the corporate Mafia wont help you when times are tough but your neighbour who you love and respect will. A community that works together willgrow together, so lets support the mum and dad industries that use to exist by bringing them back and not letting them go for the sake of greed . see www. ringingcedars .com

dixie dufus
dixie dufus7 years ago

i always have and will always buy locally grown food, all of it always, in north west fl fruits and veggies and meats are abundant, even my local walmart supercenter now buys locally grown fruits and veggies- not all the stuff in their store is local but at least they started buying it , no i dont shop there, i go to the local farmers that actually sell to them, roadside venders and farmers markets IF and ONLY IF they buy and sell locally.

Jean A.
Jean A.7 years ago

We should go to the local farmers market first and then plan our meal for that evening. I don't believe in fast food when one can cook such excellent meals at home. No excuses!! I depend on loccal markets.

Steve Watson
Steve Watson7 years ago

Growing my own veggies (and berries) has always been my favorite way to go - it's fun and you reap what you sow. I do, however, agree with keeping the little guy in business and the logic behind this line of thinking.. it makes sense that several small markets based in the locale will generate more benefit for that locale than a "StupidStore" .. which may provide jobs but siphons off most somewhere else ( not to mention the steroid sized strawberries - from California - you get at Safeway taste like wood compared to that which comes from a locally grown, natural B.C. crop).. never mind everything that has been sprayed on them.. trust your tastebuds and keep your health.

Donna H.
Donna H.7 years ago

We grow our own veggies in summer and the farmer's market is only 4 mi from my home. I'm one of the lucky people and appreciate it everyday!

Kim O.
Kim O.7 years ago

I like going to my farmers market. I live in hawaii so I know more of our produce comes from the mainland. When I go to the farmers market i know im getting fresh just from the EARTH goodness. But sometimes I see Cosco boxes and than wonder how much I am getting from Costco. So I watch and ask questions. I know it helps our small farm community. And I know I get fresher products for my family!

Elvira S.
Elvira S.7 years ago

People should follow the 100 mile diet and if God forbid there aren't any strawberries in the middle of winter, then resort to eat something else like apples for instance. I think we are spoiled, and our farmers suffer , while conglomerates get richer. We need to think how our choices affect the food growers and quality of the vegetables & fruit that we eat.