Commandment #5 : Shop local and support farmers markets
Going to a farmers market is the best way there is to get the freshest, most delicious local produce. Farmers markets have become extremely popular and can be found everywhere, so there’s no excuse not to go. Moreover, they are a great way to spend some relaxing time. And once you’ve identified your favorite vendors, you can breeze through a market pretty quickly.
The great advantage of a farmers market is your ability to ask questions! Most farms will be happy to tell you about their processes and why you should support them. You need to get familiar with the people in your area that are growing foods the right way. In the previous post (commandment #4) we talked about growing your own organic food. This is something we highly recommend. However, if it just isn’t in the cards for you right now, then at least try going to the farmers market. Get comfortable asking those hard questions about the practices each farm is using to grow its foods and livestock.
Advantages of a farmers market
- Money savings
- Eating locally grown foods
- Supporting the small farm industry
- Getting to know your farmers
- Moving away from industrialized farming
Let’s look at each of these.
When you shop at a local farmers market you are paying for exactly what you want, you are not paying for a grocery store to keep it’s lights on or expensive air conditioning. By cutting out all the other middle-man industries that have a hand out you will save on direct costs. Shopping at local farmers markets one to two times per week instead of going to the grocery store you can easily cut down on your monthly grocery bill.
Eating locally grown foods:
When you eat foods that are grown in your area, by default you are eating foods that are in season. This does several things to benefit you. If you eat foods that are local and in season, they have the ability to ripen on the plant and get the full amount of nutrients (plus they taste better) than if they had to be shipped from another location or another country. Also, when you eat the foods that are local to your area you have a better chance of surviving your local allergy and flu/cold season. This naturally happens because you are eating small amounts of the pollens from the area local to you. This helps your body build a tolerance for the season. So now you are saving money, not getting sick as often, and saving trips to the doctor’s office! WIN-WIN-WIN!
Supporting the small farmers:
When industrialized farming became the predominant method of farming, it pushed all the small farmers out. The competition became too steep and the little guy couldn’t afford to continue selling his crops. Many sold their farms or just quit. Nowadays, that small farmer is coming back. We are starting to open our eyes to the negative impact of industrialized farming. This has given the small farmer an opportunity to start again. The best way to support them is to buy directly from their farm or from farmers markets.
Get to know your farmers:
This is such a wonderful aspect of going to farmers markets. You get to know personally who is growing your food, and what they are putting on your food while it is growing. This is especially important if you are trying to eat clean or eat organic produce. You will find out that many farms are not certified organic, but still utilize organic methods. That’s because it’s a long, expensive process to get certified, so not all farms will do it. But by asking questions you will find that much of the food is organically grown, even though not government certified.
Moving away from industrialized farming:
The movement away from heavily industrialized practices is already having an effect. Many large farming concerns have started dedicating sections of their farms to organic. The more we continue to demand, the more we will see this kind of change. If we continue down this path, who knows, maybe we will start to see those horrific obesity, diabetes, and heart disease diagnoses go down! Wouldn’t that be incredible?
Find one near you
Use this website (https://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/) and type in your area code, to find all the farmers markets in your area. There is bound to be one close by. Once you locate it, go to the very next one! Start looking around, you don’t have to buy anything the first time around. Talk to the farmers, ask them questions about their practices, and what types of spray they use to keep the bugs off. Start pricing thing out. If you usually buy a specific list of produce, bring your list and see if you can save some money by buying direct. And don’t forget to check out your local CSA for a farm delivery service (same site as above). They are often great bargains for organic produce.
You are in the drivers seat when it comes to your health and the health of your family. So the more you can do to save and plan ahead the better off you’ll be. Furthermore, you are inspiring change on a much larger scale by supporting your local small farmers. If you are looking to make your mark on the world, this is how you can start, one farmers market at a time!
We really hope you got some good information from this blog. Feel free to leave me us comment or email us with questions. We look forward to hearing from you.
At I am a Clean Eater, we do not want to tell you what lifestyle eating plan you should be on. We only want to help support you wherever you are on your journey. The message is about understanding what’s at the end of your fork and making the best and most informed decisions for yourself!
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For more information on this commandment, watch this video: