National Farmers Market Week
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August 6 – 12, 2023
This year marks the 24th annual celebration of National Farmers Market Week (NFMW) A week that showcases the importance of farmers markets in our local communities.
Consumers want food that is healthy and environmentally friendly and our local farmers are meeting this need each week. Farmers that utilize farmer’s markets are minimizing the amount of waste and adopting environmentally sound farming practices that improve the natural environment while producing healthy food for consumers. These consumers purchase the sustainable produce providing money directly to the farmer in order to continue building our local food supply. Thirteen full time jobs per $1 million in revenue earned are created compared to 3 full time jobs for farmers not selling locally. The USDA estimates that local food sales from farmers markets, food hubs, CSAs, farm stands and farm to schools programs have grown from about $5 billion in 2008 to $11.7 billion in 2014.
If local sustainability, fresh produce and environmentally friendly practices are not enough for you to get out to the market each week, what about mental health?
A recent study conducted by the Project for Public Spaces determined that people who visit the grocery store only have one or two social interactions per visit compared to 15-20 social interactions for people who shop at farmers markets. There is a clear correlation between health and the frequency of social interactions among adults.
A few more statistics from a community study indicated that 55% of local market shoppers felt the market increased their community connection. 99% of the shoppers agreed that the local market improved the health of the community and 75% of the shoppers came to the market for more than shopping.
According to our most recent community health assessment, mental health challenges were found to be the number one priority of Burke County. It is important to continue to build brain boosting social connections. Socializing can stimulate attention and memory, and help to strengthen neural networks. Long story short, visit the Farmer’s Market!