08 Aug FarmGirl Foodie: Celebrating National Farmers Market Week, August 2nd-8th, 2015
Highlighting farmers market community benefits
Growing up in rural New Jersey, watching my father till his expansive garden of fresh red and green tomatoes, melons, corn, green beans, peppers, and cucumbers (just to name a few) made me appreciate farmers and the fresh, nutritious food that is produced from their hard work and calloused hands! I must admit, those long days of “shucking corn” in the hot sun and helping my mother can all those juicy tomatoes weren’t always fun. Feeding the chickens, cleaning the fresh brown eggs…not your typical after school chore! Speaking of eggs, did you know white-feathered chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs and red-feathered ones with red earlobes lay brown eggs? Well, mostly. It isn’t true for all breeds!
Looking back, my parents were unknowingly sowing into my future. Now, as a foodie and a publicist to chefs who take those fresh fruits and vegetables and turn them into artwork on a platter, I am proud to support local farmers and celebrate National Farmers Market Week (August 2nd-August 8th).
Kudos to the Farmers Market Coalition who launched a phenomenal campaign to raise consciousness about what farmers markets really mean to communities, and how these markets benefit our lives, our environment, and economies.
Here are a few benefits listed on their site:
Stimulate Local Economies
Farmers markets and other locally owned retailers return more than three times as much of their revenue to the local economy than do chain competitors. This “economic multiplier effect” helps create jobs and boosts economic activity.
Promote Sustainability – Preserve Farmland & Rural Livelihoods
Farmers markets create new business opportunities for farmers interested in selling sustainably produced food. This helps protect the natural environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
Increase Access to Fresh, Nutritious Food
With affordable prices and special programs for low-income people, markets are expanding access to fresh, nutritious food. More than 1.5 million (Women, Infants, and Children) WIC participants and 835,795 low-income seniors bought fresh produce directly from farmers in 2013 through the WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Programs.
Support Healthy Communities
Farmers markets foster interactions among people of different race, class, age, and lifestyle. 28% of respondents surveyed about public markets said the greatest benefit of the market to the community is that it “Brings people together.”
If you would like to find a local farmer’s market in your area, check out the USDA’s Farmers Markets Directory and you can search for markets by zip code, geographic proximity, product availability, payment method and even whether the market participates in Federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and WIC.