Farmers Markets

“Farmers markets are moveable feasts that mean local and fresh. They epitomize the principle of short supply chains — the distance between producer and consumer.” – Douglas Gayeton

In this edition of the Food List, we’ll be exploring this short supply chain and ways that farmers markets empower producers and consumers alike.

Farmers markets are a melting pot for food culture. It brings together urban and rural farmers, and allows a space for community members to engage. In fact, the number of farmers markets have doubled since 2000, all bursting in celebration of local bounty.

The beauty within farmers markets is the opportunity to interact. Rather than struggling for certification to recognize our values and ethics, face certification allows us to discuss and support our principles.

While there remain several key challenges to organizing markets, there continues to be a growing demand for making them mainstream. There are several ways to encourage more producers and consumers to participate in local farmers markets. A newer approach is through acceptance of SNAP and other government assistance programs. Efforts such as this are broadening the reach of farmers markets and allowing for them to serve as a lucrative outlet for many farmers.

Aside from providing communities with fresh, local produce, farmers markets are a hub for building community. They allow for neighbors and friends to partake in the locavore lifestyle and support their local food culture and food producers. Whether you are a farmer or a patron, you can nurture a local food system by participating at your farmers market

This week's terms

Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are drafting new unwritten social contracts with their communities. By sharing their knowledge and experiences, farmers build trust, all by selling fresh produce. The beauty of a local food system is that it brings you back into a relationship with the source of your food, with the land, the animals, the plants, the farmers, and with each other

Local Food Systems

"A local food system is not so much about how far a particular piece of food travels from producer to consumer. It is more about a community having control over the who pays for the hidden costs of our food. These costs can include the environmental impact of the production and distribution of the food as well as the health care costs associated with eating low quality food. It also includes recognizing that workers from one end of the food chain to the other are the poorest paid employees in society and the corporations that benefit from these low wages often pass along the gap between actual wages and living wages to the government in the form of ‘welfare’. A local food system creates the platform for a community to collectively and transparently decide what their ‘food priorities’ are and who should bear the burden of any inequity." - Edwin Marty

Eating in Season

"Food is sensual and spiritual. It connects us with the land, the community, our bodies, the seasonal rhythms and the planet. Eating foods in season offers us a visceral connection to where we are now.

In a world where we can buy just about any produce, year round, it may seem innocent to be thrilled when the first ripe local peaches appear, or the morels or apple cider in the autumn. Yet these things ground us in place and time and help us mark the passing of one phase and celebrate the arrival of a new season." - Toseland Canon, Ethical Foods

Farm to Table

The farm-to-table movement advocates for local, seasonal, fresh and organically-produced foods and has been promoted by both farmers and chefs as a means to connect consumers to the source of the ingredients in their meals. Farm-to-table restaurants stock their kitchens directly from local farms or their own gardens, and educate diners about the stages of the food cycle and the effects that their choices have on people, animals, economies and the planet.

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