It’s a joy shopping at the Farmers Market AND it’s the right thing to do.
You know why it’s fun. You meet your friends—old and new. You catch up with the local news. You can talk to the folks who grow and prepare your food and see for yourself that they care about providing good nutrition. They may be able to give you cooking tips for their products. There will be music some days, or contests. Perhaps our local Floyd witches will drop in for a visit at Halloween and judge the pumpkin lantern competition! It’s a vibrant local meeting place.
Then, there are so many other reasons to support a local market:
1. Tasty, Healthy Real Food
The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are the freshest and tastiest available. No long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate ripening, no sitting for weeks in storage.
Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have negative effects on human health. Most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, an our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties.
2. Humanely Produced Animal Products
At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture.
3. Seasonal Variety
The food you buy at the farmers market is seasonal. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.
In the right season you will find an amazing array of produce that don’t appear at the supermarket: rainbow carrots, heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, stinging nettles, green garlic, watermelon radishes, quail eggs, maitake mushrooms, and much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to savor the bounty of our home.
4. Support for Family Farmers
Family farmers need your support, now that large agribusiness dominates food production. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy. If we want access to great local foods we need to support those who toil to produce it.
5. Environmental Stewardship
Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources, contributes to pollution, and wastes packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products. The food at the farmers comes from within 50 miles of the town center and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth or even with regenerative practices.
About the Market
Developing a strong local food system is an important part of creating a resilient, sustainable community. Developing a customer base with an appreciation of local foods needs to happen hand in hand with supporting local food producers as they establish and grow their businesses.
Direct sales from local producers to local customers are the most efficient way to get the best available price for local producers while also reducing the costs to the customer of these special foods, and the impact on the environment caused by mass producing and shipping food products.
Here, in a small community, without the governmental resources to build a market there was an opportunity for local citizens to step up and fill the gap. SustainFloyd took on the building and managing of our wonderful Floyd Farmers Market as one step in building a stronger food system.
The market is operated under the wing of the Board of Directors of Sustain Floyd. The operation is coordinated by our Farmers Market Manager, Melissa Branks. Board members Woody Crenshaw and Nancy Manley are active participants in the running of the market. There is also a Farmers Market Committee.