Farmers’ markets are sprouting up in cities across America, and their popularity can be attributed to a number of things: the variety of products, the local flavor, the socialness of it all. Whatever your reasons for going, odds are you also feel good about your purchases.
In late August, Miron hosted its second annual farmers’ market for its employees and their families and friends. It was a fun event that featured a variety of fresh produce and flowers, natural products and one-of-a-kind handicrafts. It was hard not to catch that “good feeling” while walking around, which leaves one wondering: why are farmers’ markets so good for us?
A little research turned up numerous benefits associated with farmers’ markets. Interestingly enough, most of these benefits can be conveniently summed up using the triple bottom line of sustainability: people, planet and payback.
- Farmers’ markets provide opportunities for improving your diet with access to fresh food.
- These markets encourage direct contact with the producers, so you can learn how your purchases are grown and produced.
- The meat that is available for purchase is often free-range, grass-fed and antibiotic free.
- The produce that is available is often picked at the peak of ripeness, allowing all the vitamins and minerals to fully develop and contribute to greater flavor and nutrition. (Side note: Did you know that nutrient content in fruits and vegetables begins to decrease after they’ve been harvested? Since the produce at farmers’ markets is often picked either the same day, or within a day or two of the event, you can be sure those fruits and veggies are packing their biggest nutritional punch!)
- In addition to the shopping, farmers’ markets also create a social atmosphere that generally features a variety of food vendors and local music.
- These local markets reduce the distance food has to travel–transporting foods long distances required a large amount of energy.
- By supporting farmers, these markets also help to preserve farmlands and green spaces.
- Producers grow a variety of vegetables and fruits, which promotes biodiversity.
- Farmers’ markets also reduce the amount of packaging required. Bring along a reusable tote and you can help reduce even more waste!
- Farmers’ markets help to stimulate the local economy by encouraging consumers to support area business and keep more money within the community.
- These markets also bring more business to the surrounding neighborhood businesses, further stimulating local spending.
If you find yourself at a farmers’ market this weekend and you’re wondering where that good feeling is coming from, or if you’re looking for a reason to visit one of these local markets, just remember the triple bottom line: its good for you (people), good for the environment (planet) and supports the local community (payback).