Spring farmers markets are sprouting up across the country. In this clip from Nourish, organic farmer Nigel Walker, chef Bryant Terry, author Anna Lappé, and others celebrate the joys of farmers markets.
Why Support Farmers Markets?
Farmers markets are on the rise. The USDA National Farmers Market Directory listed 6,132 markets in 2010, more than double the number reported in 2000. Farmers markets improve neighborhoods and build healthy communities. By visiting your local farmers markets, you:
- Create relationships. Farmers markets offer a safe, outdoor space to meet and mingle with neighbors and food producers. More than just a place to shop, the farmers market is a place to build community around food.
- Enjoy food at its freshest and most flavorful. Food that is grown, produced, and sold locally taste better—and is better for you—than food that has traveled thousands of miles from farm to plate.
- Try new foods. Many farmers let you sample before buying. If you’re not sure how to prepare a particular fruit or vegetable, ask the vendor for suggestions.
- Get in tune with the seasons. When you shop at the farmers market, you discover the excitement of spring’s first cherry harvest and the first sweet potatoes of fall. Farmers markets educate us about what foods are local and when they’re at their peak.
- Learn the story of your food. By meeting farmers and food producers face to face, you can ask questions about how your food was grown, when it was picked, and what items are special or in season this week.
- Invest in local farms and businesses. By enabling farmers to sell their produce at retail cost, farmers markets help sustain businesses and families in your area, and provide a venue for new and small-scale farms.
- Preserve farmland and the environment. Farmers markets keep local farms in business, which reduces sprawl and protects farmland and open spaces. By encouraging local food production, they also reduce the use of fossil fuels and natural resources.
- Give back. By shopping at farmers markets, you nourish your community. Help your market thrive by volunteering as an organizer, promoter, or greeter. If you don’t have a farmers market in your area, consider starting one (see the resources below).
Find farmers markets and local food in your area by using Local Harvest or Eat Well Guide. Explore an in-depth produce guide, seasonality charts, and recipes at the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Don’t have a market in your neighborhood? The University of Missouri Extension has a FAQ on starting and operating one.
Check out the Nourish website for more ideas and resources. Stay tuned for more selections from the Nourish Video Encyclopedia, a collection of short films that explore the story of our food.
Where do you go to get fresh, healthy food?