By Fredrica Syren a.k.a Green mom:
We try to shop at local farmers’ markets for as much of our food as possible. We’re lucky to have one relatively close to our home. Some of our friends and family feel it’s hard to find everything they need there. I disagree, but maybe it depends on what you eat. Our family has “learned” to eat according to the seasons, but we never feel deprived of anything or think we’re eating the same thing over and over again. Seriously, besides local and seasonal fruits, veggies and nuts, you can find eggs, milk, cheese, fish and sea foods, bread, other baked goods, chocolate, mushrooms, meat, poultry and honey. I guess what some feel they can’t find, depending on the season, is the variety of fruits or vegetables they normally would buy at a grocery store. But items not in season have traveled from another country.
Our local farmers’ market is on Saturdays. We go as a family and everyone enjoys it. There is something special about smelling and tasting all these wonderful goodies. I also love talking to the vendors and getting to know the person who grows my food.
Buying local has a positive impact on the environment because there’s significantly less energy used and less pollution of the environment involved in the production, distribution and sales of any particular item. Compared to buying imported goods, buying local avoids more fuel use and CO2 emissions.
In the food you purchase at an organic farmers’ market, there is minimal or no preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. Furthermore, when buying your produce locally, you’re doing more than making a healthy choice: you’re supporting sustainable and local agricultural practices, which in turn helps to save the earth. You are supporting the local economy and small organic business instead of large corporations or GMO foods.
Spending money at the farmers’ markets is making a big impact. A report published by USDA announced that the number of farmers’ markets has grown. In 2011, one thousand more markets opened. Farmers’ markets have grown from 1,755 in 1994 to 8,144 in 2013 in the U.S alone.
When we spend our money at farmers’ markets, not only will the demand for more markets increase, but also there will be greater demand for more organic and humane farms. As a result, this could create tens of thousands of jobs. I encourage everyone to pick up your baskets or cloth shopping bags and head to a local farmers’ market, taste some delicious ripe food, and learn more about your local food.