The monopoly of supermarkets over people’s buying habits when it comes to food is clear to see, so why should anyone bother to attend farmers’ markets?
Well, there are a whole host of benefits that markets offer, and a whole range of things that they can deliver that a supermarket cannot. One important thing to mention is that most people claim supermarkets are more convenient because they have a whole host of different products in one place, but that argument can’t be used against local markets! Farmers’ markets vary in size but common to all will be stalls of fresh meat, fish, veg, fruit, confectionary and dairy.
Markets importantly create a direct link between producer and consumer. This allows you to know exactly where your food comes from, how its produced and crucially means that when you’re buying food you have an expert right in front of you who can inspire fresh ideas on how to use your ingredients.
The very nature of markets promotes seasonality and the science brainboxes have been pointing out the health benefits of eating seasonally. The Austrian Consumers Association state vegetables picked and frozen when in season have higher nutrient content than those flown in out of season from abroad, and the British Nutrition Federation’s spokeswoman Sarah Stanner actually stipulates “We recommend that people eat fruit and vegetables in season.”
Farmers’ markets are also key for stimulating local economies. They offer the opportunity for some small-scale growers to sell their products, and keep money within the local community. Some reports even suggest that it benefits other local businesses, in some areas shops around markets have claimed that sales have increased 30% on market days.
Community feeling is enhanced and local areas brought to life with the addition of markets. Environmentally they are far more positive – reducing food miles, cutting down on packaging, and they promote increased bio-diversity and organic farming methods.