Monday, June 21, 2010

$ense & $ensibility Monday: Farmers Markets - Building Community and Cutting Costs

Katharine Albritton is a writer and art market specialist. Follow the art market with her at 360 Degrees of Art or search for tranquility with her on Twitter.

Photos courtesy of GrowNYC Greenmarket.

With summer comes the return of farmers markets and stands to most of our lives. This makes me so happy. I ADORE farmers markets. Not only are they great for building community and supporting local farmers, but they’re also great for those of us on budgets. Because you are completely cutting out the middleman (and all the overhead costs associated with that) and buying directly from the farmer, the food is going to be cheaper. Sure, you can splurge just as much at a farmers market as you do at Whole Foods, but overall you’re going to tend to get a better deal at the market. And, as an added benefit, you get to enjoy the atmosphere of the market and meet the men and women who are growing your food.

Browsing through the stalls on a weekend morning alongside my neighbors is a great community builder. I personally don’t get to see my neighbors that often, so it’s nice to have a way to get to know them and build a sense of community and closeness. Farmers markets can also be hubs for community programs and events. For example, Greenmarket in New York organizes composting and textile recycling programs in addition to cooking demonstrations and fundraisers. They also put together educational opportunities and tours for schools. It’s truly not just about the food, it’s about the community. For other reasons to shop local markets, check out this page. Plus, many farmers markets have more than just food. They’re a great (and cheap) place to pick up potted plants and cut flowers to add a little more green and oxygen to your life!

If you’ve never shopped at a farmer’s market, why not look for one in your area? It’s not only a great experience, but also a cheaper one!

Keep living big on that budget,

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1 comment:

Melita said...

i adore farmer's markets! i wish the one we had in morgantown lasted more than 3.5 hrs on one day a week. hugs!!