Support Your Local Farms!
One of my first encounters with Farmer’s Markets since my move to the US was about 10 years ago, when I visited the Farmer’s Market on 3rd and Fairfax and I tasted the freshness and the flavor of those apples, tomatoes, green pepper, zucchini, broccoli and even locally farmed honey and locally made cheese.
The fresh produce brought back memories of my childhood and of the time I spent with my Grandma in her garden. I was also reminded of the times we would help my Dad on our farm by picking grapes and walnuts. Thoughts of the fresh pickled cucumbers and of the farm cheese reminded me of the summers we would spend with the relatives.
I sort of knew that something was missing in the food from the grocery store, but it wasn’t until I visited the Farmer’s Market that I became so aware.
Since then, Farmer’s Markets have started to pop up all over the city of Los Angeles and now there are over 2,476 throughout the country and the number is growing.
I’ve always thought that fresh food tasted better than frozen or canned from the supermarket, but I didn’t even realize the greater benefit of it until just a few years ago, when my friends started their own garden in Silver Lake and I started to read and educate myself about the benefits of growing and buying locally.
- Freshness and great taste! Fruits and vegetables that are imported get picked when still green and they ripen during the shipping time. This means that the vitamins are not coming from the earth and the sun, but the “ripe” fruits are just a process of aging.
- Competitive prices! Imported fruits are more expensive because of transportation costs, gas and customs.
- Helping your local economy! Keeping the money local helps you and it helps the farmers.
- Strengthening family owned businesses!
- Health! Find the produce that is pesticide free and certified. Much better for your health!
- Community! Studies show that people at Farmer’s Markets have as many as 10 times more conversations, greetings and other social interactions than people in the supermarkets. City planners are also learning that Farmer’s Markets can be used to bring people together, from politicians to the activists. Leaders can raise awareness about local issues using these venues. This is right up my alley!
- Less pollution and less trash!! Trucks and planes that import fruits and vegetables are polluting our air and our waters. Buying locally grown produce will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in our waters. Also, you won’t find stickers and plastic wraps around the produce that you buy from Farmer’s Markets. (I always find it bizarre when I see the plastic wrap around the organic fruits in the supermarket.) The plastic wrap gets not only into our landfill but also into our waters where fish will swallow it and into our land where birds and mammals will accidentally eat or inhale those plastic strings. Plastic also blights our communities when they end up on the sidewalk, in our playgrounds, on our lawn.
- Hormone free! Animals from small local farms are less likely to be fed with hormones and more likely to be raised free-range.
- Physical exercise! Farmer’s Markets usually are set up around neighborhoods that the community can walk to, ride their bikes to or take local buses to.
- Sensory exercise! You will find yourself relaxed, refreshed and smiling after you visit your Farmer’s Market. Smelling fresh fruits and vegetables, touching homemade wares, seeing all shades of colors that nature brings will make you feel like you’re on a little vacation.
I think these are all great reasons to ditch the chain grocery stores and find a local Farmer’s Market near you.
My film AT WHAT PRICE, asustainable production,will cater fruits and veggies from a local Farmer’s Market and from our friend’s back yard. We already set up a list of local markets that are open during our shoot dates so that we can have our Greensters (our sustainable team of Teamsters) bring the produce in on their bikes.
Farmnet.com has a list of Farmer’s Markets in LA County.
The Agricultural Marketing Service is a great resource for your Farmer’s Market needs, no matter where you live.
Gridskipper has a list of Restaurants in Los Angeles, that serve locally grown food.
Daily Trojan has a list of restaurants that thinks about your health as well as the health of the planet. Awesome!
Big thanks to my friend Lisa for providing me with statistics and more insight into the Farmer’s Market world.
And for some green inspiration for the summer, follow my friends Ed & Wrenna on their sustainable trip across America.
See you at the market!
Enci is a Mother, Actress, Artist and Activist.
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