PLANET GARDEN: Eco-Friendly Resource Guide

Planet Garden Grows When Markets Are Up

Posted in Sustainable Column by planetgarden on February 2, 2010

Farmers markets are good for everyone. The 2007 Census of Agriculture reported a remarkable $1.2 billion in food sold directly from farmers to consumers. This is a 17% increase over the previous five years. The conclusion? More farmers are making more products directly available to more Americans in more ways. One of those ways is farmers markets.
Each year, more Americans in more communities get more of their food from farmers markets. In August, 2008, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported 4,685 farmers markets operating in the United States. This was a 170% increase over the last ten years.
Like Thomaston’s Bluebird Market, fifteen percent of these markets operate in winter months, extending their seasons to generate more reliable income for small-scale family farmers and build sustainable local economies.
More farmers markets mean more opportunities to:
• support healthy lifestyles
• make fresh, nutritious food available to more people
• support small family farms and preserve America’s rural landscapes
• strengthen communities and stimulate local economies
What is a farmers market?
Farmers markets vary from hundreds of food producers across a regional food system to just a few farmers collecting on a town square. Each market is a unique representation of its community, with a wide variety of products available for sale. Most farmers markets showcase local food, local producers, and local esteem.
Farmers markets…
Support healthy lifestyles
• Offer unique varieties of fresh, nutritious food at the peak of flavor, directly from the grower
Encourage walking & bicycling
Develop vibrant community networks and gathering places
Provide opportunities for fresh air, social interaction, and learning about healthy cooking and regional products
Farmers markets…
Make fresh nutritious food available to more people
They also support small family farms and preserve America’s rural landscapes. Farmers Markets help keep farmers farming. Thirty five percent of farms near Ithaca, NY believe they would simply not exist if it was not for farmers market and direct sales in and around the city.
Farmers markets…
Strengthen communities and stimulate local economies as they
Grow jobs and strengthen local economies. Reduce the distance food travelsRevitalize downtowns. Make local food affordable. Attract new small businesses. Support your farmers market and support our community.
Farmers markets are good for everyone.
Join us to make them even better.
Enrich your life on Saturdays from 8 am until noon at Bluebird Market at the historic downtown train depot located at 218 N. Center Street, Thomaston. Explore with us each week to discover simple ways we can affordably contribute to sustainable and renewable eco-friendly living. Find resources online at www.bluebirdmarket.com
and http://www.planetgarden.wordpress.com. Email rural CSA questions to:
bluebirdcsa@gmail.com.

 
Farmers markets have attracted new small businesses to downtown Oswego and Rochester, New York.
Produce at Seattle farmers markets was up to 20 cents per pound less than at nearby food retailers.
In 2003, 24% of shoppers at Portland, Oregon’s midweek market came downtown specifically to attend the market, then continued to shop downtown.
. In 2008, more than 85% of farmers at Portland Farmers Market traveled 50 miles or fewer to get there, a fraction of the distance traveled by most food in the U.S.
In 2004, Iowa farmers markets generated 20.8 million in economic activity, directly creating 324 jobs. Oklahoma farmers markets generated 7.8 million in statewide economic activity.

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