3 Reasons Why Farmers Markets Matter
This weekend is opening day for the 2018 Oxford Farmers Market summer season. From May 5th until Thanksgiving, a dedicated group of about 55 local farmers, bakers and artisans will spend each Saturday morning, from 8am to Noon, selling the products we've worked tirelessly to produce.
While there are dozens of reasons why farmers markets are important, I wanted to boil this list down to just a few reasons why farmers markets matter. Without further ado, here are the top three reasons why I think farmers markets matter.
1. Why farmers markets matter for consumers
Farmers markets benefit consumers in a variety of ways. They provide healthy food and a sense of community. But the main reason I think farmers markets matter for consumers is this: Nowhere else, and with no other food buying experience, can you meet and personally get to know the person who grew your food. Each week you can come to the Oxford Farmers Market, look me in the eye and ask me anything you want about how we farm and how that chicken breast got from day old chick to your dinner plate. Not only do we expect questions, we welcome them. You have a right to know how your food was produced! In our market booth, no question is off limits.
2. Why farmers markets matter for farmers
Farmers markets are huge for farmers. The biggest reason why is that we get to meet the people who will enjoy our food and we get to feel appreciated for all the hard work we've put in. We also get to talk directly with the consumer, which helps drive and change what we produce based on customer feedback. At times farming can be pretty isolating. Less than 1% of the population has anything to do with farming in 2018 so it's rare to find somebody who understands the challenges of day to day life on a farm. But a sympathetic customer, who really values what you produce, can lift your spirits and offer the right encouragement at just the right time. We really value that relationship with the consumer.
3. Why farmers markets matter for farm-based businesses
It's no secret that farming is expensive. It's got to be one of the most financially draining entrepreneurial ventures to start from scratch. But farmers markets are the economic backbone of most small farming businesses. The market is the place where our product meets the consumer and the market allows us the chance to see the fruits of our labor. For many small farms, a farmers market is the only opportunity they have to see a paycheck. And without good farmers markets, many of us would be out of business in just a couple seasons.
Farmers markets are awesome and provide way more benefits than just these 3. This summer I encourage you to find your local farmers market and throw your support behind the people working hard to produce the best food around.
Note: All photos courtesy of Vickie Buller, the official photographer of Oxford Farmers Market