Articles, Blog

Why you should shop at your local farmers market | Mohammad Modarres


It’s been about a decade
since the last financial crisis, yet this industry has never been bigger. Legislation that was meant
to better regulate its largest players has hurt its smaller ones, resulting in most of the industry’s assets
to be controlled by the top one percent. They’ve become too big to fail. I’m not referring to big banks, but the world of Big Agriculture. As a public health practitioner who has worked with
small-scale farmers in Rwanda and now as a small food business owner who sits at the intersection
between our consumers and producers, I’ve been exposed to one of the most ecologically and economically
intensive industries in the world, and throughout my work, I’ve witnessed a chilling irony. Our farmers, who feed our communities,
cannot afford the very foods they grow. Today, a handful of corporations
continue to consolidate the entire food supply chain, from the intellectual property of seeds
to produce and livestock all the way to the financial institutions
who lend to these farmers. And the recent results have been
rising bankruptcies for family farms and little control for those who are just
trying to survive in the industry. Left unchecked, we will head
into another economic collapse, one very similar to
the farm crisis of the 1980s, when commodity market prices crashed, interest rates doubled, and many farmers lost everything. Fortunately, there’s a very simple,
three-part solution you can be part of right now to help us transform our food industry
from the bottom up. Step one: shop at
your local farmers markets. Buying from your local market and subscribing to a community-supported
agricultural produce box, better known as a CSA, may be the single greatest
purchasing decision you can make as a consumer today. Last year, American farmers
made the least they have in almost three decades, because they now own
fewer parts of the supply chain than ever before. Under exclusive contracts
with Big Ag and big box stores, farmers are not offered
a fair price for their goods. In fact, the average farmer in America makes less than 15 cents of every dollar
on a product that you purchase at a store. On the other hand, farmers who sell
their goods at a farmers market take home closer to
90 cents of every dollar. But beyond taking home a larger share, farmers use markets as an opportunity to cultivate the next generation
of agriculturalists who shepherd our farmlands
and our pastures. In our fight against climate change,
we need them now more than ever to promote and preserve diverse land use. When multigenerational farms
are lost to Big Ag consolidation, our communities suffer in countless ways. Rural America has now jumped above
the national average in violent crime. Three out four farmworkers surveyed
have been directly impacted by our opioid epidemic. Now oftentimes disguised as accidents, farmer suicide is now on the rise. Step two: shop at
your local farmers markets. (Laughter) Produce from a large retail store
is harvested before it’s ripe to travel more than a thousand miles
before it ultimately sits on your shelf roughly two weeks later. Alternatively, because
most farmers markets have proximity and
production requirements, farmers travel less than 50 miles
to offer you local produce with minimal packaging waste. With the advent of online grocers
and trending meal kits, consumers are increasingly disconnected with their farmers and the economics
of food production. Since the rise of
the smartphone revolution, direct-to-consumer goods have stagnated. While local and sustainable foods
have been trending for almost a decade, terms like “healthy” and “natural” have no legal framework
in the United States. Your best bet for fresh,
nutrient-rich foods without the marketing jargon? Go to your farmers market. Buying local is not a new idea, but turning it into a habit
in today’s world still is. If we want to avoid
the high costs of cheap food, protect our environment, rebuild our communities and save our farmers — literally — we’re going to need to vote
with our food purchases. The success of our food systems
is directly attached to us. If we want to break up Big Ag’s hold
on our food supply chain, then we’re going to need
to connect with our farmers. We’re going to need
to rebuild relationships with the hands that feed us
three times a day. Plus, two more for snacks. Come on. With a government online database
of more than 8,600 farmers markets across the country, you can easily find
the nearest one to you. Just think of yourself
as an investor in food, where your purchasing power helps create
a more equitable society for everyone. Oh! Almost forgot step three, which may surprise you: shop at your local farmers markets. (Laughter) Thank you. (Applause)

57 Comments

  1. Bianca A. - There's art to data science Author

    Love my local farmer's market. Even though it's in an area with bad, long winters, it's open three times a week year-round and has the best tasting fruits and vegetables in the area. 😊

    Reply
  2. Skyguy1944 Author

    Not to mention you get to see the farmers! They’re super nice people who often love what they do. Let them dork about it for a while; I have, and they beam afterwards. Help make a farmer’s day!

    Reply
  3. Keisha Charmaine Author

    But still beware at farmers markets because the farmers don’t all have integrity. My friend once bought fruit from a farmer but found a grocery store sticker on one of them later. Be attentive.

    Reply
  4. Sandcastle • Author

    Farmers are a leading cause of habitat lose, wildlife persecution and carbon emission.
    Don't bother with the farmers market unless they're vegan and organic.

    Reply
  5. iloveyouamberappel Author

    I support farmers markets all the time. That being said if the farmers are now taking 90% of the profit couldn't they make it more affordable?

    Reply
  6. BRIGHT MINDS Author

    Over-thinking ruins you. Ruins the situation, twists things around, makes you worry and just makes everything much worse than it actually is

    Reply
  7. Obsession of the Month Author

    Not really any farmers markets around here, the ones that are, you can only go to in the winter, as in the summer all the produce wilts in a short amount of time, also no set space for one. The prices better be the same or less than the grocery store.

    Reply
  8. walperstyle Author

    Why we should actually address the reason why your local farmers costs keep going up (regulations, taxation, government meddling). How about fix that bullshit first? Then maybe we can buy local for affordable prices. #economics

    Reply
  9. Eadgyt Adba Author

    Here local farm produce are on shelves right next to industrial produce in the supermarkets, makes it easier and saves money on distribution for the local farmers, which in turn makes the local produce cheaper. win/win/morechoices/win

    Reply
  10. Martin Svensson Author

    If they do grass fed animals and no pesticides and all that then I'm willing to pay more and support them directly. Because those markets dont use to be that cheap.

    Reply
  11. Soothing Voices Author

    Shop at your local farmer's markets, because in a poor country (like Nepal, where I am from), it is a question of survival for them rather than of profit.

    Reply
  12. Denny Smith Author

    ADMIRE younger generation SO much… catching a wake up & informing rest of us… sooner everyone plants their own fruit trees & veggies…healthier…
    wealthier we'll all be…

    I entered a "Dream Big" competition with Oprah Winfrey … saying my big dream wld be to PLANT FRUIT TREES FROM CAPE TO CAIRO & THEN ALL AROUND THE GLOBE… NO HUNGER – GREAT HEALTH…

    GREEDY MONEY-GRUBBING COMMERCIAL WORLD…
    PHARMACEUTICAL WORLD INCLUDED…SELFISH POLITICIANS…. NEED TO GO….

    Reply
  13. House Of Bowles Lost Tribe Author

    Profits from our local farming cooperative mainly go to fund the Local Only help feed the needy program and to help w those cut off from electric or utilities in the middle of winter here in America's 1st Municipality aka Summers County,Wv . This is more help than the DHHR esp since their programs have been gutted since the Trump Admin and Lack of proper Governance by Legislature ; yes I do Assert they Do not Care for Doing their Constitutional duties in many areas and I place alot of the Blame on Alec the screw over the People American Legislative Exchange Council who still claims Non profit status WRONGLY . Look them up sometime and understand How Evil they truly are .
    Shop Local Not Global .
    My grocery store is Union run ; so No I don't buy my groceries at Walmart !
    If You'ld like to donate to Our local help the needy program Look up Fishes & Loaves in Hinton, Wv and ask for Earl ; Earl is a wonderful Man and so are the other people who work or volunteer there .
    Have a Wonderful day Good People 🙂

    Reply
  14. Tosh T Author

    My farmers markets are dominated by pop-up vendors selling the latest Instagrammable fusion food. Good for them. I'm all for small business but I way prefer roadside/parking lot fruit and veg tents which I go to just about every week in the summer. It really is a great way to help the local farmers make a bit of profit on their surplus.

    Reply
  15. TheMarker2015 L.S Author

    I'm praying Mohammad and many Mohammad's have unlimited children. They would be a brilliant asset to this world. Especially in Europe and America.

    Reply
  16. Gaasuba Meskhenet Author

    Now raise minimum wage so the poor masses can actually afford to find and get to their local market. Not to mention, have the funds to start their own

    Reply
  17. Brenda Rua Author

    In the US Pacific NW we are lucky to have a year round growing season. The produce varies with the seasons and that is hard to get used to. But in the long run it is good to live in synch with the seasons and with the local. We have community markets for food and crafts the become cultural events with music and plays. You can not imagine what a pizza is like until you make one with fresh basil, oregano, tomato, etc. It is not the same thing or experience. The markets are just as special.

    Reply
  18. Nkh Author

    Economy Basics:
    – If you produce something someone can produce cheaper, you die.
    – Solution = Quality, but the local Farmer isn't better, its may be Bio, but chemistry is something good.

    Reply

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