There’s more to it than just enjoying delicious produce.
Farmers’ markets are a year-round business, but there’s something special about going during the spring and summer season. The sun glistens off the ruby red tomatoes, leafy greens overflow down the sides of the tables, and fresh grass gives you a nearby spot to sit and eat a locally grown peach. Bonus: All those farmers’ market goodies also come with health benefits.
The Benefits of Farmers’ Markets
The abundance of vendors at the farmers’ market can sometimes be overwhelming, but the benefits are plenty. You’ve probably heard about how shopping locally is good for your community and for the environment, but that also benefits your health in the long run.
1. You’ll be enjoying (and supporting) local goods
Today, many of the goods you can buy at the grocery store came from across the country—or on the other side of the world. It’s hard to know any information about how the farmer grew the vegetables, what safety practices they follow, or their ethical standards for labor. At a farmers’ market, you can often talk directly to the person who grew or made the product. They can tell you exactly what farming practices and pesticides they use.
Plus, supporting local farmers keeps them in business. This helps ensure fresh produce continues to be available in your community. Access to nutritious foods is important for maintaining good health throughout the lifespan.
2. You’ll be buying what’s in season
The farmers’ market sells produce that’s in season in your region. Food that’s picked and eaten at its peak often offers slightly more nutrients. On the other hand, grocery store food often has to travel far (sometimes around the world). To make the trip, the produce often gets picked before it’s totally ripe. By the time you buy it at the store, it may have slightly fewer nutrients. (Don’t worry: Store-bought produce still has lots of healthy nutrients to offer!)
Plus, apples and tomatoes simply taste better when they’re in season rather than January and February. That matters: You’ll be more likely to keep eating healthy fruits and veggies if they taste amazing.
3. Shopping at the farmers’ market helps the planet
Locally grown food doesn’t have to travel as far to get from farm to table. A shorter distance means fewer emissions from vehicles. Obviously, this is great news for the planet. However, it’s also good for your health.
A polluted environment can worsen certain illnesses, such as asthma. It can also increase the risk of severe weather events, like drought and wildfires. Severe weather events can be dangerous, but they may also affect crops and lead to famine. Learn more here about how climate change affects health.
Plus, some markets let you drop off food scraps and compost. This means it can go back into the earth instead of in a landfill. With landfills taking up more and more space on the planet, composting can be very beneficial to the planet (and you).
So grab your reusable tote bag and get shopping. The options at the market are unbeetable.
- For Tops in Nutrition, Shop Farmers Market. Cleveland, OH: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Accessed June 8, 2021).
- Farmers Markets: Bringing the Farm to Table. Cleveland, OH: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (Accessed June 8, 2021).
- Air Pollution. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control. (Accessed June 8, 2021).