Following is an interesting article about farmers’ markets beneficial impact. Courtesy of Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market, 1302 Chestnut Street, Bastrop, next to the Convention Center & across from City Hall. From the Farmers Market Foundation
Back in the day, families would meet up at their community farmers market in order to swap and barter their goods. At the time, this was the method used to bring food to the table. One family would bring in a load of potatoes, another a crop of corn while still others would bring along the produce they had grown. This system worked extremely well but became outmoded as technology advanced and food became available in local stores.
Today’s farmers markets
In today’s modern society, it’s easy to visit the supermarket to purchase your food items. Lately though, more and more people are looking at the importance of purchasing nutritious fresh food that comes right from the farmer’s field in the community. This produce is not available on the supermarket shelves and still remains a desperately wanted and needed commodity.
Local people that want fresh food at an affordable price can convene at their farmer’s markets. The food for sale at these markets has been freshly picked and brought to market the next day. There is nothing that tastes better than a fresh tomato that has just come from the vine. There is no comparing this to a supermarket tomato that has been subjected to transportation and warehousing before reaching the grocery store.
Nutritional value of food
Not only do the 2 tomatoes differ drastically in taste; there is also an extreme difference in their nutritional values. When a fruit or vegetable is allowed to ripen naturally on the field it has a much higher nutritional content than the one that is picked early enough to compensate for transportation and storage. In order to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to food, you’ll want to choose only fresh produce. It tastes better and gives your body the nutrition it craves.
How farmers markets impact the local economy
Farmers markets impact the local economy of the community they serve in so many ways. A report issued by New Orleans Market Umbrella, “The Economic Impact of Farmers Markets: A Study of 9 Markets in 3 Major U.S. Cities”, showed that the economy was positively impacted in the 3 cities studied. In Los Angeles, Cleveland and Baltimore, farmers markets generated significant benefits economically for not only the vendors but for the host neighborhoods and surrounding region as well.
Here are some of the key findings from the report showing the benefits received:
- Vendors’ annual impact – $52,000 up to $40,594,000 for each market
- Annual impact on nearby businesses – $19,900 up to $15,765,700 for each market
- Annual community impact – $72,000 up to $56,360,000 for each market
For every dollar that is spent at the market, a portion of that goes back into the local economy and is re-spent in the area. There are no stakeholders or parent companies that are receiving dollars back so there is more cash that can flow out to the local economy.
Farmers markets benefit everyone living in the community, to one degree or another. This is the best way to feed a family while at the same time helping out your neighbors and local businesses.
The Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market is a project of Bastrop Sustainable Agricultural Community (BSAC), a non-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation.
Our mission includes operating the Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market to provide Bastrop and the surrounding region with locally grown foods and farm products in direct farm-to-consumer marketing that serves a diverse population, preserves and promotes our local agriculture and improves the quality of life in the greater Bastrop County area.
We provide a market designed for farmers and artisans, including those who are economically disadvantaged, to sell their farm and ranch products, artisan goods, prepared foods and other handmade products.
The Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market improves access to local, healthy, affordable food for children and adults while assisting family farmers and ranchers to create a local, sustainable agricultural economy. We accept the Texas Lone Star Card for food purchases.
We feature regular food/cooking demonstrations to provide information on preparing fresh foods and maintains a library of free recipes and gardening handouts.
Our market also helps to ensure that the needy have access to the healthy food, through our Demonstration & Giving Garden, harvested by the Bastrop Food Pantry and with cash donations from our Spare Change Campaign.
In 2011 the market vendors with help from the community built new raised beds to increase our ability to grow more food for the hungry. We built 3 raised beds in April of 2011, planting them with many spring crops donating several hundred dollars worth of food to the Bastrop Emergency food Pantry. In November, we built 3 more beds, filling them with fall crops such as collards, spinach, broccoli and lettuce. In March and April of this year alone our donations of fresh food to the Pantry exceeded $200.
We regularly sponsor visits from the Friends of the Bastrop County Animal Shelter for their Doggie Adoption Events, on average 3-4 times a year. Our customers really enjoy meeting these loving dogs and usually a couple of dogs find new forever homes at each event.
- The Market regularly showcases our locally available fresh foods with cooking events featuring samples and recipe handouts.
- Change for Food, a project of the Market, to raise money for the Bastrop Food Pantry. Just donate your extra change! Through a relationship with the Austin Area Food Bank, 11 cents buys a pound of food for the hungry.
- Free recipe and gardening information handouts available at the Hospitality table.
- Book Exchange at the Hospitality Table - take a book home to read, return it and bring more paperbacks to share.
- Drop off site for the Bastrop Food Pantry - bring in non-perishable canned goods to help feed the hungry.
- Drop off site for plastic bottles & aluminum cans.
- Drop off site for recycling egg cartons and nursery pots.