Do you know where your food comes from?
Shopping at the farmers’ market is better for the environment, better for our local economy, and better for your wallet. It’s also fun, healthy, and the food tastes better. Once you eat fresh, recently harvested produce, you’ll realize the stuff from the supermarket (organic or not) is just not the same thing. Being connected to your food, farmers, and makers will change your entire life. But, as with anywhere you shop, buyer beware. Take the opportunity to buy the freshest, most local organic goods, and make sure you know what you are buying, who your money is going to, and what you are supporting.
NOT ALL FARMERS’ MARKETS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Just because it’s at the farmers’ market doesn’t mean the food is automatically healthy. The same lesson in Empathy Economics applies to shopping at a “health food” store. Some markets have vendors selling donuts made from white flour, fried in conventional oil. Or expensive hot sauce made from imported conventional peppers. Of course, it’s not about this being good or bad, or about controlling what markets set as rules … it’s about transparency. If it’s not made available easily, ask questions! You will either get an answer that helps make your decision simple, or you won’t get an answer, and this is an indication that perhaps it’s not something you will feel right about purchasing and consuming. Many of the farmers who participate at markets spray their crops with conventional herbicides and fungicides, use GMO seeds. Other stalls might sell produce not grown on their own farms (which is also ok if they know how it’s grown and can answer your questions).
It is a privilege to have access to farmers’ markets and fresh, healthy food. If you do visit and frequent, consider finding a way to share a little of the best food with those that do not have access. Fortunately, in Toronto, we have Community Fridges.
Choose Farmers’ Markets with high standards and transparent signage, and support the farmers and vendors who truly do good. We have 10 questions that are great to ask at market … globally!
Who’s your farmer?