Healthy Living in the North

Farmers’ markets: Home grown community love

farmers' market veggies

Do you visit your local farmers’ market?

One Saturday afternoon, I did something that I don’t normally do – I took some time to walk around my town of Fort Nelson. It’s amazing what you see when you move slower:  I noticed, for example, how crisp and beautiful the flowers on the street corners were! During my walk, I decided to venture into the Farmers’ Market – a place that I often overlooked when driving – and I discovered the fresh locally grown foods that were displayed everywhere.

A farmer there explained to me that locally grown foods taste different than food that has been trucked up from thousands of miles away. His lettuce was picked yesterday, whereas food trucked up to us may have been picked a week ago. We also talked about how locally grown foods builds community, supports your local economy, increases food security, and reduces the environmental impact from transportation. It seems there sure is a lot to love about farmers’ markets and local food!

Farmers’ Markets feature individual vendors, mainly farmers, who set up booths, tables or stands and sell their products to the public once or twice a week at a designated place like a park or parking lot. The markets often feature produce grown naturally or organically, meats that are raised humanely on pasture, eggs and poultry, and produce.

Thanks to an increased interest in healthier foods and food security, farmers’ markets in Canada have grown. New markets appear regularly, and existing markets are seeing renewed growth.

Benefits of shopping at your local farmers’ market

Consumers love them because they can buy top-quality farm-fresh products directly from the person who produced them. Produce found at farmers’ markets is renowned for being locally grown, very fresh and produced at a much higher quality, as it’s usually organically grown with no artificial hormones. Local, fresh food is more likely to foster health and prevent illness than is heavily processed foods.  Consumers can enjoy fresh, seasonally-grown food that was produced within a drivable distance from their homes.

Farmers love them because they’re fun and let them connect with consumers who love what they sell and appreciate their hard work. They’re also an important source of income, helping farmers keep on doing what they love to do. Almost all of the money that supports local farmers goes back to the farmer, especially since the food sold at farmers’ markets undergoes a much simpler process than that sold at supermarkets.

Communities love them because they bring people together and can turn once-deserted areas into hives of activity, attracting extra business for stores and restaurants nearby.

For more information or to find a local farmers’ market, check out the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets or contact your local environmental health officer.

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget to enter the Healthy Living Week 4 Challenge and tell us about how you source local food for your chance to win a great mini freezer!]

Michael Truong

About Michael Truong

Michael is an Environmental Health Officer at the Fort Nelson Health Unit, and he really enjoys his work. He has been living in northeast B.C. for almost a year and loves his community. During the winter season, he enjoys snowshoeing with his friends and in the summer, he loves the scenery of the northern Rockies.

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