Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash
Chances are, your community has a farmers market, where you can stroll through on a summer morning and pick up fresh produce lovingly grown by local farmers. Here at Lands' End, we even hold a farmers market each summer on our Dodgeville campus, featuring local and organic producers as well as live, home-grown music and handcrafted items made by local artisans. It's a great way to honor our neighbors and connect with local rural communities.
Farmers markets are becoming increasingly popular, as consumers appreciate fresh food from local sources. In 2000, there were 2,863 markets listed in the USDA Farmers Market Directory. In 2017, that number had grown to 8,735. Since August 5-11 is National Farmers Market Week, and our headquarters is surrounded by cornfields, we'd like to share how farmers markets make a difference.*
Farmers Markets Support Local Economies
Growers selling locally create 13 full time jobs for every $1 million earned, and locally-owned retailers such as farmers markets return more than three times as much of their sales to the local economy compared to chain competitors.
Farmers Markets Increase Access to Fresh Food
Although it's often said that fresh produce is more expensive, farmers markets actually bring affordable fresh food to the communities that need it most. 60% of farmers market shoppers in low-income neighborhoods say that their market has better prices than the grocery store.
Farmers Markets Preserve Rural America
The U.S. loses an acre of farmland to development every minute. Farmers markets keep land in production and preserve rural livelihoods. Seven markets in Seattle, hosted by the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, support 9,941 acres of farmland. Markets provide the sole source of income to 25% of vendors.
Farmers Markets Support Healthy Communities
People who shop at farmers markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, and proximity to farmers markets is associated with lower body mass index (BMI).
These are just a few of the benefits farmers markets bring to their communities. At Lands' End Business, we're proud to support our local food producers. And, it's worth pointing out that we're also here to help agricultural businesses of all sizes outfit their employees whether they're at the market or on the farm.
*Information provided by the Farmers Market Coalition