The recent reemergence of farmers’ markets in urban communities has been a positive addition to the health of cities and community members. By providing fresh local produce to all areas, the existence of farmers markets has put money in farmers’ pockets, healthy food in mouths across various socio-economic lines, and created a new socializing center for community members.
Farmers’ markets create an opportunity to build community by connecting people through food. Purchasing food at a farmers market is a very different process than going to a supermarket, because it draws you closer to your food source. The foods available at farmers markets are all locally and seasonally grown, and sold to you buy the farmers that grew them.
The local and seasonal component of farmers’ markets is an important one to recognize. The Food Ethics Council acknowledges that seasonal eating “benefit consumers, society, farmers and the environment by having a smaller ecological footprint, encouraging other sustainable behaviors, reconnecting us with where our food comes from, and benefiting our health and rural development” (Food Ethics Council, n.d.).
Farmers’ markets are a hub for small-scale farmers to circulate their products to local consumers. This eliminates many external costs associated with mass distribution such as extra transport and packaging. It also streamlines the transfer of money back to the simplest route: from consumer directly to farmer. Farmers’ markets also create a forum to connect with the people who are growing your food. In most cases, famers open their farms for viewing to share how and what they are growing. This type of exchange makes room for households to have a more educated understanding of exactly what is going into their bodies.
In areas where fresh or healthy foods are not available, often referred to as ‘food deserts’, these markets have introduced a needed option to underserviced communities. “Farmers’ markets have become an important community-based strategy to address the obesity epidemic and the grocery gap seen in many low income areas” (Glyn, pg. 208, 2011).
Farmers’ markets are contributing to urban communities in a rich and immediately impactful way. They are servicing farmers, consumers, victims of environmental injustice, affluent community members, and everyone in between. Famers’ markets do not discriminate, but rather focus on distribution.
Droke, Rebecca. 2011. [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sectionfront/life/heres-your-shopping-list-of-100-plus-farmers-markets-297522/
Food Ethics Council. (n.d.). Seasonal Food. Retrieved at http://www.foodethicscouncil.org/topic/Seasonal%20food
Glyn, J., Karpyn, A., Uy, N., Wich, K., & Young, C. (2011). Farmers’ markets in low-income communities: impact of community environment, food programs and public policy. Community Development: Journal of the Community Development Society, 42(2), 208+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.pitt.idm.oclc.org/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA264364808&v=2.1&u=upitt_main&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w