Farmers’ markets are a fabulous source of fresh fruit, vegetables and even meat and household products for the green-minded individual and family. These markets are usually held on a weekly or monthly basis, inviting farmers and those making home-made goodies to display and sell their goods to the public. They may be held close to a town or city centre, making it convenient for those in urban areas to access. Alternatively, they can be held out in the countryside, giving city-slickers a perfect excuse to spend the day enjoying the fresh air and sunshine of the outdoors.
A farmers’ market boasts the following benefits and advantages, amongst many:
- The produce is usually freshly picked or harvested, bursting with natural vitamins, colours, flavours and minerals. This also means that these goods are likely to stay fresh for much longer than store-bought goods, which are already a few weeks old.
- There is no middle man, which means that the prices are lower.
- Any fluctuations in the market are experienced directly by you, the consumer. So, if there has been an ample apple crop, you will be able to get the fruit for cheaper, not pay the same price and let the middle man benefit from the producers’ lower costs.
- Farmers’ markets provide an ideal platform for producers that cannot necessarily afford a shop or supply supermarkets with large quantities. In this way, they benefit the local community enormously, which is an integral part of green-minded sustainability.
- As the consumer, you are able to have direct contact with the producer, making enquiries about their pesticides and farming methods possible. You are also able to get suggestions and handy tips directly from those in the know.
- Fresh food makes healthy eating easier, as having it in the home reduces your tendency to snack on sweets and junk food.
- Produce does not need to be transported all over the country. This means a significant reduction in fuel consumption, pollution and costs, since most producers will simply go to their local market, situated nearby.
- Producers will likely package their goods in newspaper or not at all. This alleviates a bit of the strain placed on the environment by polystyrene and plastic packaging.
- As farmers see the value in selling their goods at the market, they are likely to increase the variety. Hence, the market actually encourages biodiversity.
- Farmers’ markets may attract both locals and tourists, drawing people into the town to spend money and increase their awareness.
- There is a more fluid interaction between the city folk and the rural folk as they converge in one place with a common goal or purpose.
- A farmers’ market encourages unemployed ones to create jobs for themselves so that they can benefit from this new opportunity.
Image Courtesy of Tree Hugger