This past week was National Farmers’ Market Week, [Aug. 7-13], and while I got way too busy doing other things, I just had to stop and pause to thank the thousands of farmers’ markets that are currently part of our foodscape, and, thankfully, the number is growing annually.
More Than Just Food
Farmers’ markets play an important role in our lives– besides being a regular market for fresh, local food, by connecting the local farmer to the urban dweller, creating true community and social engagement.
In an essay written by Farmers’ Market Coalition Friend, Raymond Saul, these places are a “success story of renewal.” Besides the mercantile. the many social and civic components provide repeated opportunities for citizen involvement about food policy, and agriculture, along with bridging a cultural chasm between city and rural life.
It’s the countless numbers of volunteers keep the “wheels” of the markets turning by performing a variety of tasks, everything from posting fliers all around, to holding cooking demonstrations and kids’ activities. In Seattle, Washington, the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance is a great example how volunteering is so welcome.
Fortunately, the last couple of years have seen an upswing with more residents in underserved areas, and food deserts having the ability to use SNAP benefit [formerly known as food stamps] to make healthy choices in their diets. SNAP redemption is a definite positive trend. Low income does not equate with low nutrition.
It’s “Love At First Bite”
Finally, let me share a revealing documentary,”Love At First Bite,” that shows just how much we are connected to our local farmers. While it’s 26 min. long, it’s not too long to raise our awareness of what it means to be committed to deeper connection with those that so selflessly provide our daily bread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MXycwwl1n2U. BTW, by joining or sending a small donation to the Farmers’ Market Coalition would also be appreciated to make the market experience even better.