Farmer’s markets have been around in the United States since before the Industrial Age, but have since recently grown in popularity and become a vital facet to the agricultural market, especially in the last 30-40 years. According to the Department of Agriculture, there are more than 8,000 active farmer’s markets across the nation and the numbers grow as demand for fresher foods increases. As research and information about the origin and composition of different natural foods become more available to the public, people have become more inclined to gain knowledge about where their food is coming from before purchasing. When shopping at local farmer’s markets, consumers like us are given the opportunity to learn more about where our produce comes from and really know what we are putting in our bodies.
Large commercial and name-brand supermarkets often use preservatives and other chemicals to maintain the color, taste, or growth stage of produce, which can have negative effects on our general health and nutrition. And because local farmer’s markets generally use minimal preservatives or synthesized chemicals to maintain their produce, you can be sure that food bought from farmer’s markets is guaranteed to be fresher and more highly concentrated in antioxidants. In this way, produce maintains its natural nutrient density and antioxidants – generally resulting in healthier foods and richer flavors. Not only is your locally-grown produce better for you, but it tastes better too!
In addition to nourishing a healthier, tastier diet, by buying produce from local farmer’s markets, you are supporting local growers and the American job market in a globalized economy. In a market dominated by international corporate and commercial giants, it has becoming increasingly important to create and maintain U.S. jobs. By supporting local farmer’s markets, farmers are given higher profit margins to continue growing healthier and fresher produce. Also, According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), unprocessed foods in the U.S. travel an average of 1,500 miles from growers to supermarkets. This excess shipping uses large amounts of natural resources which pollutes the air, and creates waste from packaging which is overall detrimental to the environment. Since farmer’s markets are locally grown, the food travels lesser distances to reach you and therefore, less packaging is needed. Not only is food from farmer’s markets more nutritious and tasty, but it is better for the economy and environment around you as well!
Overall, farmer’s markets are an integral asset available in the warm summer months that guarantees the freshest and the best produce, ranging from fruits and vegetables to pastries and dairy. Because locally-grown farmer’s markets improve our overall health, economy, and environment, they are absolutely an essential resource to take advantage of this and every summer!
Marissa Sosnicki is Veggiecation's newest summer intern. Marissa is 21 years old and entering her senior year of college at Montclair State University where she is pursuing a degree in applied nutrition and public health. Marissa has a passion for preventative health and believes that nutrition is one of the best ways to achieve a long life. Her biggest wish is that nutrition education is offered throughout school systems from when students are a young age to increase knowledge and decrease food fear so our nation will be the healthiest, not the heaviest.