One of the best parts of a farmer’s market is that you get to support locally grown food and your community. By doing so you:
1.) Shorten the distance between farm and table – From your farmer’s hands to yours = very simple
There aren’t too many things that beat being able to go down to your local farmer, pick your own produce, and eat it the same day. (At least, there aren’t too many for a Nutritionist!) First, it’s fresher. Second, it didn’t have to travel half way round the world for you to get it. And third, you know where it came from.
2.) Decrease environmental pollution
By decreasing travel you decrease air pollution.
3.) Preserve nutrients
The further a food travels the greater the length of time a food will remain on the shelf, and the more likely the nutrients in that food may be lost.
4.) May decrease pesticide exposure
This is not always the case because even local farmer’s use some pesticides. The upside, is that fewer may be used and some may be more “natural” than the ones used by larger farms. You still have to wash your produce though! This leads me to my next benefit.
5.) Get to Know your Farmers
Taking the time to learn about your local farmers means you get to learn what’s being offered in your community, what foods are commonly grown in which regions, and how those foods are being grown. There’s just more transparency.
6.) Support the Economy
By buying produce and other goods at a farmer’s market revenue tends to stay in the community thus boosting the economy. Not to mention that for larger farmer’s markets it opens up more job opportunities within the community.
7.) Save Farmland
The more people visit farmer’s markets the greater the demand, and the more likely it is that farmers will continue farming. It’s supply and demand. Very similar to how I might advise a mom that the more she breastfeeds the more milk she has for her baby.
8.) Receive Great Tips for Cooking foods
Don’t know how to use a food you find? No problem. Just ask the farmer. Unlike supermarket chains farmers’ markets have the advantage of one on one advice from your farmer.
9.) Promote Community Partnerships
Some farmers’ markets and farm shares partner with nutrition programs to help bring fresh fruits and veggies to those on state run programs like WIC and SNAP. Mass.gov has more information about which farmers’ markets accept WIC/SNAP.