Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Take Local Action- Support a Farmer's Market!

Today I'm urging you to take local action to support your health. The action I would like you to focus on is supporting local farmer's markets. In most areas this is the off season for markets, but its a great time to prepare for their return in the spring/summer.
Is there a farmer's market in your area? In La Grande we have a market that runs June through October. I recommend that you search around and see if there's one you can attend. If there isn't one, consider trying to get one started (post a comment and I'll connect you to resources to do so).
There are multiple ways to support your local market. The easiest is as a consumer. At the farmer's market you can have access to fresh healthy produce. You are able to talk to the producer and find out how they produce the food. Is it organic? Organically grown, but not certified? Do they use chemicals? How is it harvested? Many of these producers harvest the food themselves, often the morning of the market!
By buying locally produced foods directly from the growers you are able to provide your neighbors with income, that is a living wage. Local foods are fresher and less resources are used to move the foods from the point of production to consumption. A lot less oil is needed to transport grapes from a vineyard that's 10 miles away, than from one in Argentina.
On a budget? The prices at farmer's markets are often comparable to stores and the food is a lot fresher! Most farmer's markets are now accepting food stamps. Go to the information booth and ask! If your local market doesn't accept food stamps, now is a great time to start talking to the manager to get them to take food stamps.
Many smaller markets will welcome occasional sellers. If you have a bumper crop, consider getting a booth at your local market and selling your excess! There are many people who live in apartments, and other situations with limited space to grow food, who will appreciate your extras.
Already a market vendor? Does your market have an agreement with a local food pantry to distribute extra food? If not, start planning it now! Talk to everyone you meet about the benefits of them shopping locally. The public needs to know that they are making a huge difference by purchasing your products.
Farmers markets benefit the health of individuals and society.


Anonymous said...

Tristin you are so right to remind people about their local farmer's markets. We should all become *regular* shoppers at our neighborhood farmer's markets. It's one of the fastest and easiest ways for communities to shift over to a more sustainable way of living.

~Natalia (linked from greenchange.org)

P.S. Great news to hear that many farmers markets are now accepting EBT!

Justin-Paul Sammons said...

I've only recently become interested in farmer's markets again after "discovering" them on a trip to the US many years ago. It turns out that there are two within cycling distance of my house, and of course it is more than worth the effort!

Dave said...

In recent years, my parents bought a community supported agriculture share in Alleged Farm in Washington County, NY, 36 miles from their home in Bethlehem (an Albany suburb). Every week in the Summer and Fall, they get a bag or two full of different vegetables, berries and herbs. The food is delicious and healthy, and it gets them to try new recipes with things they don't normally buy (I guess this year was good for eggplant, so they experimented with a bunch of eggplant recipes). CSA shares are another good way to support local farmers and make your eating habits healthier and more sustainable.

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