I never realized how diverse our food is. I only recently started venturing into the farmer’s market in downtown Sarasota last September, when I finally purchased a bike. I preferred buying my vegetables and fruit at the farmer’s market for both the fresher taste as well as the cheaper produce, but last week’s class made me realize that there are many reasons to go to the farmer’s market instead of the chain grocery stores located everywhere, such as Publix and Walmart. I researched the top reasons to shop at the farmer’s market instead of the grocery store, and I discovered that it not only provides you with the freshest food. Buying produce at the farmer’s market helps the environment through preventing the use of packaging and energy required to ship food to your area and around the globe. Packaging in chain supermarkets wastes so much paper and plastic and the amount of earth’s natural resources to get these packages to your nearby supermarket is staggeringly high. Why buy prepackaged fruits and vegetables from Walmart when you can buy the freshest, organic fruits and vegetables in bins at the farmer’s market? Even though Walmart now sells organic fruits and vegetables, the prices are much higher in comparison to those at the farmer’s market due to shipping and packaging costs. I never realized the truth of these statements until researching it and it encourages me to buy more from the farmer’s market instead of the supermarket.

The environment is also helped by local, organic-fruit-growing farmers because they tend to not expose their produce to toxic and harmful pesticides. Chemical fertilizers and other harmful substances that will deteriorate the nutrients in your soil and vegetables. It’s proven that feeding the soil with organic matter instead of toxic chemicals will increase the amount of nutrients in produce, thus having not only healthier and fresher vegetables, but also tastier ones! Local farmers generally use organic substances to grow their crop so by supporting these farmers, you also support a healthier environment!

In addition to having cheaper prices, fresher and healthier produce, and helping the environment, farmer’s market is a great community event where people gather and becomes a great social venue. It is great to meet and support the local farmers, who are always super friendly and lively. They are always willing to share recipes and socialize with their customers and will tell you how they grow and harvest their food. Overall the farmer’s market is a great way to start your weekend! By buying produce from local farmers, the money goes straight to their pockets and helps keep small farms alive, especially in a time where it’s so difficult for small companies (or farms) to compete with giant corporations.

-Elaine Wu

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2 responses »

  1. April White says:

    Farmers markets are great and when I actually had a life my freshman year at Ringling every Sunday my family and I would go to the one located in downtown Bradenton since my family lives in Palmetto. I agree with everything Elaine said about the produce being fresher, cheaper and helping the environment because the product doesn’t have to travel far and is not packaged in plastic bags that just get thrown in the trash when you get home. All of these are great reasons to shop at a farmer market rather than Publix unfortunately my schedule has made it almost impossible to get to the farmers market because they are not open as long or as late as a grocery store so I find myself just purchasing things from Publix.

  2. Amanda Koh says:

    I agree with April about the difficulty to accommodate my grocery shopping with the timing for the farmer’s market. Sometimes I have to do my shopping after lab hours (midnight) because I have no other time to do it. I’ll be making the switch to buying my vegetables from the farmer’s market this winter! Hopefully that will work out in the long run.

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