The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that farmers and ranchers receive only 20 percent of the price of food. The Department says that off-farm costs such as retailing, wholesaling, distribution, marketing and processing account for 80 percent of the cost on average while for specifics, the amount going to farmers is even less. Farmers receive less than 6 percent of the price of bread and barely 2 percent of the cost of beer.
Besides better-tasting, environmentally conscious food, there are lots of other reasons to eat local. Here are the top 10 reasons to shop your local farmers market.
1. Taste the difference.
Farmer’s markets offer the freshest food around—usually only hours from the field—so you get top quality, perfectly ripe flavor.
2. Help the environment.
Eating locally saves vast amounts of packaging waste and energy required to ship food around the globe.
3. Shop organic for global health.
Farmer’s markets attract vendors who use organic growing methods, meaning you gain access to food free of synthetic pesticides. Plus, buying organic supports good land stewardship.
4. Become part of your community.
Festive and lively, farmer’s markets are social venues where you bump into friends and meet local farmers face to face.
5. Support local farmers and your local economy.
In an era when sustainable farmers struggle to survive, farmer’s market profits—which go straight into growers’ pockets—help keep small farms alive.
6. Save money.
Buying from farmers eliminates the cost of the middleman and pricey shipping, so you get more value for your dollar.
7. Learn about food.
Kids and adults alike enjoy exploring firsthand how foods are grown, harvested, and eaten by browsing market stalls and talking to farmers.
8. Boost your nutrition.
Tantalizing produce displayed in farmers’ bins and baskets encourages you to eat more fruits and vegetables, so it’s easy to consume the recommended five servings a day.
9. Treat your senses.
Experiencing the colors, smells, and tastes of a farmer’s market is a sensual experience that connects you to the land.
10. Find new cooking ideas.
Community chefs at the farmer’s market are happy to share recipes for in-season foods.
Visit Local Harvest to find a farmer’s market near you.
More About Eating Local Food
• Live in the city and eat fresh, local produce. Check out America’s top 10 urban farms.
• Be prepared for Saturday morning shopping. Read our guide to farmer’s markets.