Which of these two scenarios sounds more vibrant for overall quality of life and health?
The wind on your face, the sun on your skin, you talk with a local farmer about the size and taste of this year’s harvest of peaches, as you pop a slice in your mouth. After tasting several different varieties, you choose your favorite one, walking away with a great memory of the farmer in your mind.
You stand shivering in the freezer section at your local mega-mart, your eyes begin to glaze over from the halogen lights and the neon-colored cardboard boxes containing substances claimed to be food products? You decide on the one with the least amount of additives and make your way to the self-check-out line, excited to get in your car and out of the supermarket.
Clearly, most of us would agree that the first scenario, at the local farmer’s market, is much more appealing than a trip to a big chain grocery store. But what, besides the aesthetic factor, are some of the other benefits of supporting your local farmers market? Here are ten reasons why I believe you should shop at your local farmers market.
1. Buying Locally
Buying from your local farmer allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food halfway around the world. You are eating food in your own environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region. You are also supporting the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels.
2. Cheaper Organic Fruits & Veggies
You can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket. There are also many farmers that carry products that are not technically “organic,” (as this is a costly and often beurocratic-heavy process), but have many low-priced foods that are pesticide and herbicide free. The advantage at a farmers market is that you can actually talk to the farmer, learn about their methods, and then decide for yourself and in most cases they will allow you to come and visit their farm.
3. Supporting Your Local Economy & Farmers
You are supporting human beings and the local economy, not massive agribusiness GMO food conglomerates.
Not only will your money be staying in your area, but you will happily please the farmer that worked to grow that food. Your belly will remember the farmer’s smile as they handed you that juicy peach.
4. Eat Seasonally
By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is another great way to increase your overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened decreasing the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple in the dead of a Montana winter!
5. Safer Foods
Food from your local farmers market is generally safer. Remember the recent outbreaks of E. coli in bagged spinach? These things happen mostly in large industrial settings, where business-men work to mass produce food, preserve it and bag it in mass amounts.
6. Fresher Fruits & Veggies
The food from your local farmers market is, quite frankly, fresher. Because it was grown locally, there is a good chance that the apple you buy from the farmer was picked a few days ago. This is virtually impossible in a big supermarket.
7. Great Variety
There is usually an amazing variety of fruits and veggies at your local farmers market. Each farmer may have his own method for growing tomatoes or peppers. This is something that never happens at a grocery store.
8. Better Taste
There is no doubt that locally-grown foods just simply taste better. You will never be able to eat a carrot from the grocery store again!
9. It’s Healthy!
There’s just no way around it, eating fresh, locally-grown fruits and veggies are great for your health.
Buy yourself some local honey, which is sold at most local farmer markets. It has just the right components for allergy prevention in your neck of the woods, not to mention it’s tasty!
10. Most Importantly — It’s Fun!
We stated it in the beginning, but farmers markets are just plain fun for the whole family. Meeting your local community is an excellent way to feel connected to the world around you, increasing health for body, mind and spirit.
Or Just Start Your Own Organic Garden
An even better solution would be to grow your own food by creating an organic garden in your yard or even on your balcony. Of course, this will take extra time and money, which alot of us seem to lack these days.
Why do you shop at your local farmers market? Let me hear your reasons.
- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM