Farmers’ markets are triple bottom line.
Farmers’ market season is upon us and now is the perfect time to spend your weekend enjoying a beautiful sunny day and connecting with those in your community. Not only is it way more fun than going to a grocery store, but it also doesn’t feel like a chore to shop for your food. Here are three important reasons why shopping at farmers’ markets are better for your local community, for the environment, and you!
It’s better for your community! When you buy local you support local. Whether you are buying directly from a farm or through local markets, you are actually supporting local businesses and the people in your community. The money that you spend stays near your home, which means you are reinvesting in businesses that can create new jobs and boost your local economy.
It’s better for the environment! Smaller farms are much better at conserving natural resources than larger farms. They generally use more sustainable farming practices such as permaculture, regenerative agriculture, and water-saving irrigation systems. Also, the produce sold at the farmers’ market is not wrapped in multiple layers of single-use plastic. Bringing your reusable bag is a must to carry all of your groceries and is a great way to limit the amount of plastic you bring into your home. If you’re buying locally, you’re also buying seasonally. Fruits and vegetables that are not in season in Michigan have to travel long distances so they have a larger carbon footprint. More greenhouse gasses have been generated just for them to be provided to us.
It’s better for you! The produce that we see at the grocery store is generally older because it usually has been imported from other states and other countries. Fruits and vegetables have to be harvested early to stay fresh during shipping and distribution. During that time, they often lose nutritional value because ripening agents are used. Most of the produce from a farmers’ market has been harvested within a day or two during its peak ripeness, which means they are often full of flavor and nutrients. You will also have the opportunity to connect directly with farmers and learn how your food is grown and who grows it. You can ask if they have used pesticides or how they raise their crops. You have a right to know how your food comes to be.
If you are having trouble finding a farmers’ market near you, check out localharvest.org to connect to your local farm so you can support local agriculture.