From fresh seasonal produce that’s been farmed sustainably to meeting the hardworking people who grow your food, there are many benefits to frequenting your local farmers market. Here are 7 reasons why you should start shopping outdoors!
1. Enjoy the fresh flavors of in-season produce.
Because small farms can harvest fruits and vegetables when they’re fully ripe and quickly bring them to a local market, you’ll be enjoying these foods when they’re at their freshest and healthiest. Farmers markets offer seasonal produce, so you can build a closer connection to nature and appreciate what our planet has to offer. You might also see a variety of foods that aren’t usually available at grocery stores, which is perfect if you want to try out new recipes.
2. Support family farmers.
With large factory farms and corporations dominating the food production industry, it’s important to support family farms. Selling directly to consumers allows farmers to earn more money back compared to working with grocery chains. Having this capital gives smaller farms the ability to continue operating and providing consumers with sustainable alternatives to mass-produced foods.
3. Protect the environment.
Shopping at local farmers markets protect the environment in many ways. In the United States, food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get from farm to table, using an alarming amount of fossil fuels and excessive packaging in the process. Additionally, industrial farming typically uses chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers — this damages the land and contributes to soil and water pollution.
Family farms grow their produce ethically and sustainably, making farmers markets a more earth-friendly choice. Buying locally means that your food was transported a shorter distance and was organically grown on a farm that produces much less waste than a larger farm would.
4. Support the humane and ethical treatment of animals.
Poultry and cattle farms are notoriously known for their mistreatment of animals. Livestock are usually injected with antibiotics and hormones while being forced to suffer in poor living conditions. At a farmers market, you can find eggs, cheese, and meats from animals that have been ethically raised. These animals typically spend time outdoors and have a natural diet.
5. Improve your health.
Some studies have shown that local markets placed in low-income areas have a positive impact on people's health. In different places in the US, neighborhoods with a nearby farmers market were linked to a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables as well as a lower body mass index (BMI).
Buying organic produce also means you’ll be enjoying fresh foods with minimal processing, which is healthier for your body in the long run. Plus a trip to the farmers market is a great way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air!
6. Learn about where your food comes from.
Visiting a farmers market means you have the opportunity to directly speak to farmers about their practices and learn about the steps they took to grow nutritious, organic foods. By knowing all the hard work that goes into producing fresh fruits and vegetables, you can gain a greater appreciation for your food. It’s also a great chance to ask for tips in case you want to start your own garden!
7. Connect with the community and strengthen the local economy.
Farmers markets are a great way to socialize and connect with people. Some markets even hold events and offer entertainment for the community. Taking a stroll through outdoor stalls filled with vibrant, fresh produce is a great way to spend the day with friends and family. Family farms are also small businesses that provide jobs, so purchasing from them will help boost the local economy.
Supporting farmers markets is not only important for our health, but our planet’s health. Large-scale farming and grocery chains might be convenient in today’s modern world, but shopping locally and supporting families that are working to sustainably grow fresh produce has many benefits for us and the environment.
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