Have you visited your local farmers market lately? Well news is that a lot of people have. According to the Courier News, farmers market are rising not only in popularity but also in numbers. Since last year alone, the number of farmers markets has risen nationwide by 17%. This comes to no surprise with the fast-growing organic and vegan movements occurring throughout the country.
What does come as a surprise is the fact that even with the rise in farmers markets and the demand for organic, local, seasonal, and wholesome products in general, the government is still offering substantially more Â assistance to large industrial farms as compared to small local farmers. Last year alone, the government paid $14 billion to these same large farms while providing less than $100 million to local and regional farms. That's a huge discrepancy, if one ever existed.
However, in 2002, Congress created a farmers market promotion program that over the next two years will funnel $20 million toward expanding farmers markets and other direct marketing efforts. This was part of an overall farm legislation. So, some efforts are being taken to increase farmers markets and overall support for local commerce, but clearly a lot more can be done. We must remember that most farmers markets are full of vendors that live and work right in our area and increased business towards them, will help our own local economy as well.
So we encourage you visit your local farmers market and support your local and regional farmers. Not only will it motivate you to eat healthier and fresher produce, but it might just surprise you on what can be found right in your own neighborhood.