Summer Wellness & Your Local Farmers Market

by Carollyn Mushro

Now that summer weather is in full swing in most parts of the country, it is a wonderful time to consider your local bounty at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. While big-name grocery stores give us the illusion that all types of fruits and veggies are plentiful year-round, the reality of how our food gets to our plate can be eye-opening for the average consumer.  The numerous benefits of buying local may surprise you!

The experience of strolling a farmer's market and coming face-to-face with people who lovingly have grown your food isn’t one you’ll soon forget.  Those farmers can tell you exactly how the food was grown, and if it was done in a sustainable or organic manner. More often than not, it is pesticide-free because growers aren’t dealing with the same type of mass-production that large-scale agriculture implements. If this information isn’t openly displayed, you can always ask! Local farmers usually have excellent tips for how to cook or pair the produce, too. 

Eating locally grown food also gets you food that is packed with flavor and nutrients. In commercial grocery stores, sometimes it has been days since the produce was harvested. By the time it makes it onto your plate, it could be a full week that your food has been traveling (ever wonder why those berries go bad so quickly?) Locally grown food also doesn’t need to have preservatives sprayed on it to keep it fresh during transit. When your food doesn’t have to travel cross-country, you’re getting a product that is far more fresh, flavorful and packed with vitamins & minerals! 

Buying local also promotes a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source, the more chances there are for contamination. With imported food, it can pass through several different hands before it reaches your kitchen, increasing the chance of contamination. Buying directly from local producers reduces this risk.

Supporting local farmers markets means you’re supporting your local economy and putting money right back into the hands of members of your very own community. In times like these, supporting small business means helping to put food on your neighbor’s table! When you keep your money where you live, every dollar you spend generates twice as much income for your very own local economy. 

Shopping at your local farmers market also benefits the environment. The further that your food has to travel—the more fossil fuels are used in transporting it. Reducing your personal “food miles” helps to reduce your carbon footprint, by reducing air pollution & lessening our dependence on fossil fuels.  You are also supporting a well-loved “green space” in your community when you buy from them!

Socially, there are benefits of buying at the local market, as well. Farmers know that forging relationships with the communities they serve is important. They like to have a connection with the people they serve, and taking part in a market gathering can be a social event for community members, as well.

Finally, shopping local empowers the consumer. It gives them the opportunity to become acquainted with the very person growing their food, to ask questions about the process, and to purchase produce that is responsibly raised and good for their bodies!

About the Contributor

Carollyn is a wellness enthusiast living in the Chicago burbs with her husband and two children.
She loves inspiring families to find their own healthy journey through holistic modalities.
She loves kombucha, travel, and questioning the status quo.
You can find her on IG: @carollyn.mushro