Direct Markets Mean Stronger Food Systems
Buying your food direct from the producer is hugely beneficial to your local food system! “Direct markets” describe the exchange of food from producers directly to the end consumers. This means doing your grocery shopping primarily at farmer’s market, farm stands, or joining a farm share program instead of buying from big-box grocery stores.
Building Sustainable Communities
When we emphasize the importance of direct markets in our community, we help to create “local pathways” in which community members work directly to build a stronger food system. Local pathways mean significantly smaller carbon footprints for consumers, in that food is being transported from within the community rather than from producers located in other towns, states, and countries. Direct markets help to create independence within communities as they become more self-sustaining, keeping the exchange of food for money localized. By supporting our small farms and businesses, our local economies will flourish.
Helps Generate More Farmers
By buying direct, consumers help farmers receive fair pay for their vegetables instead of wholesale prices and, in doing so, help farming become a viable and more desirable career path. The more profitable our local farms become, the more our local farm businesses can grow. With higher profit margins, farms are more likely to not only stay afloat, but to thrive. This means an increase in job opportunities as well as higher wages for current farm workers.
Fresher, Healthier Food
Did you know that the food you buy at the grocery store may have been sitting on the shelf for days (sometimes many days)? Your lettuce may have been harvested a week ago, or your eggs laid 10 days earlier. This means a very short fridge life once you take it home. One of the main benefits of buying your food at the farmer’s market or joining a CSA is that you know your food is as fresh as possible. When you open your share box or buy from a farm stand, you can be certain that your radishes were harvested that morning or that your summer squash was cut no more than a day prior. Produce begins to lose nutrients as soon as it is harvested. University of California studies show that vegetables can lose 15 to 55 percent of vitamin C, for instance, within a week. This means the fresher your food is, the healthier it is for you.
Remember, supporting the production of local, organic foods is easy–we just need to vote with our dollar by buying direct! And one really easy to buy direct is to become a CSA member of Schoolyard Farms. You can learn more about it and sign up here.