At the outset of starting Together Hemp, we decided we wanted to maintain a presence at our local Farmers' Markets here in Ontario Canada. What we have found is something that far surpasses a forum for us to sell our hemp products, it is a place where we engage with real people, and our community.
Being at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers' Marketweekly has been such a rich experience that we think everyone should be visiting their local farmers' markets. Here are just 10 of many reasons why you should start going (or keep visiting) your local farmers' market.
1. Support your local economy.
When you shop at farmers' markets you are supporting your local community, with over 60 cents for every dollar staying in the community. It allows people you can meet and know face-to-face, and care about to stay in business, and helps foster healthy neighbourhoods, towns, and cities.
2. Know your farmer + know your food.
Local farmers' markets are an opportunity to connect with and support the interesting people who produce your food, and you therefore get to know about the farming practices behind the food you will be eating. Knowing where and how your food was grown affords an extra level of assurance that you are feeding yourself and your loved ones the safest, and best quality food.
3. Eat seasonally.
In addition to supporting locally, eating what is seasonally available, promotes a number of nutritional benefits. Foods travelling less distance will lose less nutritional value, and eating what is seasonally available in your environment supports optimal nutrition for lifestyle changes. For instance summer fruits generally are rich in fructose, allowing for frequent high paced activity, while the more sedentary lifestyles associated with colder weather of fall and winter is supported by hearty starch-rich foods like gourds for instance.
4. Tons of variety.
Farmers' markets will often have produce that you can't necessarily find elsewhere, and are a great place to explore new produce and heirloom vegetables you will never see in a regular grocery store.
In addition to learning where your food comes from and how it is grown, you will learn a whole lot more. Nutritional tips, recipes, preparation, and preservation are some of the obvious things that you will come away learning with a regular visit to the market. You also will learn more about your natural environment, the different cultures, ideas, and history of your own neighbourhood.
Much of our systems of commerce have become heavily industrialized leading to a global system of import and export as well as a process of monoculture agriculture. Purchasing from local farmers is a great way to consume and support produce that is more environmentally friendly (having not been shipped long distances), and doesn't support the use of industrial chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that are needed in mass monoculture agriculture.
7. Keep it fresh!
When you buy local, your farmers are going to provide the freshest, produce that has been allowed to ripen fully in fields rather than sitting in storage, or going through gassing to stimulate ripening processes. There is no beating food fresh from the farm, you can taste the difference.
Food from the farmers market is comparable to most produce from your average grocery store, is definitely more affordable than purchasing organic groceries from a supermarket. In some cases you may even find your local farmers market to be competitive in comparison to large supermarkets.
9. Environmentally friendly
Food from farmers' markets generally requires less energy and fuel to produce and transport reducing the carbon footprint of your shopping, and the markets themselves often operate in open air, or in facilities with less energy requirements than large supermarkets.
10. Make friends!
A farmers market is an opportunity to meet people in your local community, and connect over food, nature, and other shared interests. If you start going to farmers' markets you will soon learn how they are a great place to socialize and develop relationships with cool and interesting people.
You can catch us every Saturday at Evergreen Brickworks' Farmers' Market.