Friday, September 25, 2009

Do Farmers Markets Support Sustainable Food Movement?

Farmers markets are becoming a hit among consumers who prefer eating locally grown sustainable food. Whether or not these markets support the sustainable food movement can be established with the fact that over 4,600 such markets have spread across America and more are yet to come up.

If we consider the direct sale of food items, percentage of such sales went up to 1.2billion dollars in 2007 as compared to 812 million in 2002. There was a 17% increase in the number of farms selling their produce directly. It rose from 116,733 to 136,817 during the same period. The concept of providing fresh and sustainable produce to the consumers has caught up really fast in the last few years. Farmers markets are not only taking the sustainable food movement to the next level but also protecting land from the excessive use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers.

The numbers may seem impressive but if industry experts are to be believed, this growth is just a drop of the overall sale of farm commodities. In an attempt to improve the expansion of market opportunities that involve direct connection between the producer and consumer, the USDA has announced the allocation of approximately 5 million dollars for the Farmer Market Promotion Program in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. But with the increase in the demand for exotic fruit and vegetables grown in far corners of the world, more consumers need to realize the benefits of buying sustainably grown seasonal produce. This will extend support to the growth of many such farmers markets.

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