By Lauren Dessaure, Virginia Tech Dietetic Student and Virginia Cooperative Extension SNAP-Ed intern
What is a Farmer’s Market? A farmer’s market, by definition, is a food market where local farmers sell fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and other locally produced goods. Most farmer’s markets offer a variety of produce and products, including but not limited to items such as fresh baked goods or homemade items like soaps or flower bouquets.
How does a Farmer’s Market Help the Community? Farmer’s markets provide its customers with a variety of locally grown, often organic, fresh produce. Something many individuals, especially in urban areas, have a hard time gaining access to. Along with offering individuals in the community a chance to improve their health by eating more fresh produce, they save participants of the SNAP/EBT program money! Did you know if you receive SNAP/EBT dollars you can double them when they are used at some farmer’s markets? This means that if you have $10 worth of SNAP/EBT dollars, the farmer’s market will give you $20 to spend on freshly made items. Some of the items participants are allowed to buy are any fresh produce like fruits or vegetables, meat, dairy products, baked goods, fish, seeds, and herbs. Look out for the Virginia Fresh Match Logo at your local market!
Where are Farmer’s Markets Located? Most likely, there is a farmer’s market waiting to be explored right around the corner from where you live! Check out this website (https://eatsmartmovemoreva.org/shop/farmers-markets/) for more information on where to find a farmer’s market near you!
Why are Farmer’s Markets Important? Farmer’s markets are a vital part of community health because they bring fresh, nutritious produce right to individuals who live in the community. Without farmer’s markets, residents would only have the option to shop in grocery stores and wouldn’t have access to seasonal produce that is grown right down the road from them. Farmer’s markets also stimulate local economies by supporting small businesses and local farmers and give them a space to come together and provide the community with great products.
Farmer’s markets are also great for the environment! Most farmer’s markets sell organically grown produce, meaning there is a smaller environmental footprint that comes with the products they produce. Harsh pesticides aren’t used in the growing process and natural fertilizers are used. This helps to keep soul quality high and in turn produce even healthier and more nutritious food. All of these small factors we may not think much about can make a huge difference in the environment!