The 15th Annual National Farmers Market week is in full swing! This week celebrates local farmers and the markets where they supply fresh food for the community. Farmers markets are crucial to supporting local, small and mid-sized farmers. It’s important to recognize that they also provide a number of benefits for our health, our community, and our economy.
According to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick,
“Farmers markets are essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms and are part of the cultural tradition of the Commonwealth; [they] create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering, [and] help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space” (www.mass.gov).
Here’s 10 great reasons to shop at your local farmers market this week, and throughout the year:
- Fresh food for you and your family: The produce at farmers markets is as fresh as it gets and that means you’re getting food that tastes better and is more nutrient-rich than food that has traveled hundreds of miles to a grocery store.
- Engage with your community: Farmers markets are perfect for meeting others in the neighborhood as well as your local farmers. Shopping at farmers markets is a communal experience, where you create a connection to your neighbors and your environment.
- Support local farmers directly: When you buy from farmers, the middleman disappears and they get full retail price for their products.
- Help conserve energy: When you buy local food, the environment benefits too. On average, our produce travels 1,500 miles (by air or vehicle) to the grocery store. When you buy local produce, the amount of petroleum used is significantly less.
- Create less waste: Buying produce directly from a farmers market, you don’t have to deal with any packaging. You won’t pay for the package, or have to dispose of any.
- Ensure a future for local food: In buying food at farmers markets, you keep those farms in your community and ensure that future generations will have access to fresh, nourishing, local food.
There’s no better way to celebrate Farmer’s Market week than to head to one of Massachusetts’ 306 farmers markets! Over 110 farmers markets in Massachusetts participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (accepting food stamps/EBT). To find a farmers market near you, visit MassFarmersMarkets.org.