The establishment of farmers’ markets in cities and towns
throughout the United States has demonstrated that urban residents and farmers working together have
begun to take control of local food economies. The small farmers who market
directly to the consumer can save more than half of each dollar that is usually allotted to
intermediaries, and the buyers get fresher and cheaper produce. The produce
sold at a farmers' market is usually picked within twenty-four hours of sale. Consumers do not have to pay for the fancy packaging common to supermarket
produce, and often there is more variety.
Farmers' markets depend on cooperation between urban and rural
communities. Urban and rural dwellers have discovered that they can contribute
to improving the quality of life in their respective communities by setting up
a direct market outlet for local farmers during the growing season. A farmers'
market may be one way for successful community gardeners to sell some of the surplus
produce they have grown. It may also be
a way to increase access to fresh produce for non-gardening neighbors.
Successful urban farmers' markets don't just "happen". They require thoughtful design, planning in order to be successful. I found that successful markets provide benefits that extend beyond the obvious ones involving farmers and consumers.
Because they encourage farmers to diversify and grow a variety of crops farmers' markets can also benefit the land and overall environment.