Local Farmer’s Markets

The number of Farmers’ Markets in the United States has increased in the last two decades. It has affects on the citizens of the United States, who are now starting start to buy fresh food from Farmers’ Markets instead of from grocery stores.

Robin Shuster is the founder of “Market & More” and director of two Farmers’ Markets in the DC Metro area. The awesome thing about the 14th and U Street Farmers’ Market Manager is that she is a CODA and can sign!

Shuster shared her thoughts on the benefits of Farmers’ Markets: “First there’s the food — it is local, it is fresh.  There are varieties you cannot find in the supermarkets.  It tastes better!”

She went on to explain “In markets like ours, with robust food access programs, everyone in the community can buy at the market.  We not only welcome SNAP (food stamps), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and Senior Farmers Markets Nutritional Program (FNMP) users, we are able to match their benefits so that their food access dollars go further.”  The WIC and Senior FMNP program are programs for certain people who need the more financial assistance.

Shuster also highlighted a number of other beneficial programs that Farmers’ Markets in the DC Metro area engage in: “We also participate in the national pilot of the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program where doctors actually prescribe fruits and vegetables for families to lower risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and other obesity related diseases.  And this year we will be part of the Produce Plus program which will us to match food access benefits for customers who use them.”

Another local farmer’s market owner, Christopher Bradshaw, discussed his own views on the benefits of Farmers’ Markets: “I run Dreaming Out Loud, the nonprofit that founded Aya Community Markets (Aya). Aya is developing network of Farmers’ Markets and farm-stands that help to provide access to fresh, local produce and build health equity.” The Aya Community Market’s vision is to have customers come in and gather with other neighborhood residents. Bradshaw stated that Aya Community Markets, “is building community through a friendly and inviting gathering place food — no matter where you are in the world – [and this] brings people together. Farmers markets also allow people to feel connected to while supporting local businesses from farmers to bakers and more.” The markets are places for education and exposure to new things for many people. Many Gallaudet students have visited this place. It is quite small; however it has a big vision.

A writer on food and other topics, Rhea Kennedy, has also written about Farmers’ Markets. She offers a supportive perspective on them: “When you buy from a farmer from Maryland or someone who runs a food business out of a kitchen in D.C., your money stays in the area. If you buy from a company based 2,000 miles away, your money leaves. There are also environmental and health benefits because small, local farms I’ve seen at D.C. farmers markets don’t use many chemical pesticides that can harm ground water and people’s health — they use organic techniques to grow their food. When a farmer only has to drive fifty miles to the farmers market, she uses less gas and emits less carbon than an eighteen-wheeler truck traveling 3,000 miles from California. There is some debate over whether small farms are really energy efficient, but I believe overall there is an environmental benefit.”

There are many Farmers’ Markets open at many different locations, days, and times serving a wide variety of food. The Farmer’s Markets have so many benefits and perks for DC residents and for any person who wants to eat local foods!

Buy local fresh food!

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