Five Less Obvious Benefits of Shopping at Farmers’ Markets

Farmers' markets have lots of benefits beyond getting fresh, local food.

Photo: Shutterstock

There are lots of great reasons for buying food at a farmers’ market, first and foremost of which is that you’re going to get local, seasonal food picked at the peak of freshness. That adds up to great taste and great nutrition.

But did you know there are some less tangible reasons why it’s great to go to your local farmers’ market? Here are a few to think about.

You can eat humane. Even if you eat meat, dairy, fish or eggs, local is best. Generally speaking, meat and other animal products you find at farmers’ markets are raised on small farms and get to enjoy a life of grazing outdoors instead of the typical cages and feedlots of factory farms.

You can learn to cook the food you buy. Many farmers will happily give you tips on how to prepare the food they grow. They’ll also have some great ideas about drinks and other foods to pair with their products. Some farmers’ markets even have cooking classes or demonstrations.

You can connect with your community. Most urban dwellers don’t even know the people in the apartment next door, let alone people who live down the street or across the way. Farmers’ markets bring together people who share an instant potential bond based on a common interest in local, sustainable food.

You can learn where your food comes from. Ever wanted to know what goes into making cheese? Ask a cheese vendor at the farmers’ market. This goes for any other food you’re curious about. Not only are farmers happy to tell you how to cook the food they sell, they’ll be delighted to tell you how the food they sell is produced.

You can be eco-friendly. Most food in U.S. grocery stores travels huge distances before it finds its way onto shelves. The cost of this transportation in fossil fuels and carbon emissions is immense. Farmers’ markets support a local food economy and decrease the environmental impact of our eating choices.

What other less obvious benefits do you get from going to farmers’ markets? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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About Alex Holt

I am a local artist from Brooklyn, NY. I love art, design, books, photography, gardening and blogging.
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