5 Reasons to Celebrate Farmers Markets
This month saw the celebration of National Farmers Market Week, a celebration of all the good that farmers’ markets bring to their communities. We are so proud of our Good Food Buck partners for their dedication to serving their neighbors, and for overcoming the obstacles presented by the pandemic. Farmers markets are multifaceted assets to our communities and are an essential component of community engagement and healthy food access. As outlined by the National Farmers Market Coalition, here are 5 important reasons you should celebrate your local market. Farmers markets:
- Stimulate the Local Economy: The USDA reports that for every $1 spent in SNAP, $1.80 in economic growth is generated. In fact, a study by Moody’s Analytics found that “expanding Food Stamps… is the most effective way to prime the economy’s pump” (Zandi 2008). Furthermore, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, each $1 billion of retail generated by SNAP creates $340 million in farm production, $110 million in farm value-added, and 3,300 farm jobs. Good Food Buck partners are proud to incentivize SNAP and contribute to New Jersey’s local economy!
- Preserve Farmland: The number of small and mid-size farms in the U.S. has been on the decline for years. Farmers markets provide a lucrative sales outlet for our small local farmers, who are essential players in preserving the health of our soil and productive farmland. In 2019, the Good Food Buck program supported over 50 small local farmers across our Garden State Good Food Network!
- Increase Access to Healthy Food: At the core of the Good Food Buck program’s mission is creating more equitable access to fresh, healthy foods. Good Food Bucks stretch SNAP dollars further and result in NJ SNAP recipients putting more fruits and vegetables on their tables. According to a Wholesome Wave study of SNAP-doubling programs across the country, 92% of participating shoppers said the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchased “made a big difference” in their family’s diet. Additionally, 74% and 94% of incentive program participants reported an increase in either their consumption or purchase of fruits and vegetables as a result of the program, and food security status was improved.
- Support Healthy Communities: In addition to getting the freshest food around, people visit farmers markets for social, political, and educational reasons. For example, at the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market in Trenton, one of City Green’s longest-standing Good Food Buck partners, you’ll find music and dancing, children’s activities, and a variety of free health screenings provided by the Henry J. Austin Health Center. Farmers markets provide an ideal venue for providing “one-stop-shops” for multiple health and community resources.
- Promote Sustainability: Small local farmers are more likely to use responsible and sustainable growing practices than conventional farms, and by shopping at farmers markets, you can ask the people who grew your food exactly how it was produced. Local food also requires less traveling to get to you, which means fewer pollutants being released into the atmosphere. We’ve also seen major disruptions to industrial food supply chains as a result of the pandemic. Local farmers and direct-to-consumer outlets have proven that they can more easily adapt to these disruptions to meet consumer demand and work with their communities to find effective solutions. Many of our Good Food Buck partners have quickly adapted by providing online shopping options and drive-through farmers markets so they can continue providing quality food to the community and maintaining viable sales outlets for farmers.
These are just a few of the reasons why you should support and celebrate your local farmers market, and thank your farmers! They are an invaluable piece of the fabric of our communities, and we encourage everyone to visit one of our Good Food Buck partner markets to show your support. We can’t wait to see you there!
About the Grantee
City Green is a 501(c)3 urban farming and gardening organization, based in Clifton, New Jersey working to revitalize New Jersey communities through agriculture, educational programming, and food access initiatives.