Farmers’ Markets Connecting Communities To Fresh Food
Legislative Column from Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C-Black River)
June 4, 2012
We’re quite fortunate here in Northern New York. We’re surrounded by food-producing countryside – and even better – we have many vibrant farmers’ markets right here in our own communities. It’s in these direct-to-consumer markets that we see many benefits not only to the purchaser but also to the producer. Families need not worry about cost, because there are family farms and suppliers to accommodate every type of budget. Often, the cost is comparable to what you would pay in a local supermarket. Buying even a portion of your weekly groceries from the farmers’ market can make a large impact on your family’s nutrition and on our local economy. Buying local produce, dairy and meats helps guarantee that you’re putting the best and freshest food on your table. Eating items picked that day means that you’re getting more vitamins and nutrients than you would with conventional store-bought produce, which loses nutritional value as it travels for days and often weeks before it reaches your table. Buying local also has a positive impact on the environment, as it cuts down on fuel usage for transport and packaging. Purchasing your food from a farmers’ market is about more than just better nutrition. Buying locally is a great way to support our economy. Studies show that for every dollar spent locally, about 50 cents gets reinvested back into the community. Also, agriculture in our part of the state is a huge employer, just like small businesses. It has never been easier to purchase from your local farmer. Many farms have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, which allow individuals and families to buy shares of a farm’s harvest and give the purchaser a weekly supply of produce and other farm goods. Additionally, as part of getting families back on their feet, many farmers’ markets now accept food stamps. Better nutrition and lower costs mean healthier, more prosperous families. If I can’t convince you to shop at your farmers’ markets based on these reasons alone, let me give you just one more: local fresh food tastes amazing. For your convenience, I have created a local food guide to share with you. It can be downloaded at tinyurl.com/blankenbushFarmersMarkets. If you have any questions or ideas on how to better support New York’s farms and agriculture, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 493-3909.