Shopping Your Local Farmers Market
What is the best way to get connected to your local food economy? It isn’t seeking out the closest farm-to-table restaurant. It isn’t showing up at the farm down the road. It isn’t even going to your local grocery store to attempt to locate local products. While these are all good investments of your time, they aren’t the most effective. The best way to get to know the produce grown in your region, meet the people who grow it, learn about how to store the food, cook the food and support those who produce it, is to go to your local farmers market.
Farmers markets appear to have support as a way to get healthy food and give back to the local economy, but how many people actually go every Saturday (or Sunday or Wednesday or Thursday or whatever day they host them in your neck of the woods)? How many make this a part of their weekly grocery shopping stops? We wager it’s not many, despite how busy the Farmers Market in Columbia, MO is on most Saturdays.
Our challenge for you this week is to try out your local market. Find one near you. Check out what kind of products they sell. Some only sell produce, others have crafts, some have meats and other food products. Be sure to consider the kind of produce you can expect. That way, instead of getting your produce at the grocery store this week, you can make a run to your local market and buy what you might normally buy at the store at the market instead. We guarantee the quality will be better, your money will stay local, and you may be surprised by what else you find. Something we love about markets is that you are able to talk to the person who grew your food.
We aren’t going to make this a long post, because we don’t think we need to do much convincing. We will, however, leave you with some statistics about farmers markets that may convince you to try it out if you are still on the fence.
Many markets across the country accept SNAP, WIC, and SFMNP dollars, extending the opportunities for families of all socioeconomic statuses to enjoy fresh produce.
A 2011 Economic Research Service report found that fruit and vegetable farms sell into local and regional markets employ 13 full-time workers per $1 million in revenue earned. Comparatively, fruit and vegetable farms that are not selling locally employed only three full-time workers per $1 million in revenue (Read more).
The best way to support your farmers market is to go and buy things from its producers. Hands down. In addition, we have created shirts that allow you to show your support of the mission behind Feast Native while also supporting local food. For $20 you can purchase a shirt, of which 50% of profits will go to support the growth of our local Columbia, Missouri Farmers Market.
We believe in what farmers markets do for our economy and we want to help with your support. Shirts will only be printed once, so don’t miss out. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your shirt quantities, size(s), and an address where we can send the shirt once they are printed in early September.