Celebrated every year during the first full week of August, National Farmers Market Week recognizes the benefits of shopping locally and eating fresh, local foods.
The Farmers Market Coalition aptly explains the myriad benefits of supporting farmers markets:
- Preserve America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for beginning farmers, allowing them to start small, test the market, and grow their businesses.
- Stimulate local economies. Growers selling locally create 13 full time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those that do not sell locally create 3.
- Increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Several studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets. Due to this and other factors, 52% more SNAP households shop at farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers today than in 2011.
- Support healthy communities. Farmers market vendors educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food.
- Promote sustainability. Three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards.
One key to farmers market shopping is following produce seasons. Instead of everything being available year-round, like in grocery stores, you get different kinds of produce throughout the year. A great way to follow your local farmers markets and the weekly vendors is through social media. That way, you can plan your trips and your meals in advance!
Find your nearest Acadiana farmers market:
Lafayette ParishFarmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm (heads up: their Mid-week Market is moving downtown for the fall, starting this Wednesday!)
Hub City Farmers Market
Le Petit Magasin de Scott
Carencro Cultural District Farmers Market
Vermilion ParishAbbeville Farmers Market
Kaplan Farmers Market
Iberia ParishTeche Area Farmers Market
St. Landry ParishOpelousas Farmers Market
Eunice Farmers Market
Washington Farmers Market
St. Martin ParishCreole Farmers Market
- Outside of Acadiana? Check out the Lousiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry's 2015 Market Directory.
- Search for farmers markets all over the country with the USDA's local food directory.
- Earlier this summer, I set out to visit a local farmers market and cook a meal with my finds.
- Check out my Eco Cajun Guide to Farmers Markets and learn how to explore and shop the sustainable way.