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Going Green at the Original Farmers' Market

|| July 19, 2019

There's little debate around the benefits of attending farmers markets. Did you know that these benefits include both personal health and environmental health?

Read more below to learn different ways the Original Farmers' Market benefits the local economy, the environment, and of course, you!

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Are you curious how you can lower your personal carbon footprint, reduce waste, support local economies, and get access to some of the freshest and most delicious food around? Look no further than your local farmers’ market.

On average, food travels over 1,000 miles from the point of production to the retail store [i]. This journey consumes fossil fuels, contributes to air pollution, and creates waste through excess packaging and damaged food that ultimately cannot be sold. Meanwhile, all produce sold at The Original Farmers’ market is grown in Indiana and travels less than 100 miles to get to your plate, giving you fresher food and helping the environment too. Our vendor with the furthest commute is Sitka Salmon Shares, a fisherman’s shares company committed to sustainability that will not only tell you what waters your fish was caught in, but the name of the fisherman and boat as well.

In addition, local farmers grow on a smaller scale and are known to practice more sustainable habits such as conserving water, using less pesticides, insecticides, and GMOs, and growing a more diverse crop to ensure soil health over time [ii]. In fact, Original Famers’ Market vendors Arnold Farms, Redwine Farms, and KG Acres all utilize organic growing practices.

Supporting your local famers’ market doesn’t just help the environment, it can also have a positive impact on health in your community. A study on North Carolina youth found that a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) was associated with proximity to a local farmers’ market [iii] and three independent studies have tied the availability of locally grown food to a reduction in community obesity levels [iv]. Farmer’s markets also give shoppers the chance to strengthen their community ties, a study by the Project for Public Spaces discovered those who shop at Farmers’ Markets have approximately 15 more social interactions during their visit than those who shop at grocery stores [iii]. You can meet some of your local vendors at The Original Farmers’ Market by attending vendor demos every Wednesday at 11 a.m. or by checking in on twitter and watching our Facebook live videos of the event @IndyCM.

Finally, shopping at a farmers’ market supports your local farmers, keeps your dollars in your community, and stimulates local economic growth. Locally owned retailers, such as farmers’ markets, return more than three times as much of their sales to local communities compared to their chain competitors and markets act as business incubators, allowing small businesses to begin sales and grow slowly [v].

Shopping at your local famers’ market comes with a variety of environmental and local health benefits; however, personal choices can also amplify your impact. You can help the Indianapolis City Market and The Original Farmers’ Market be as sustainable as possible by choosing to carpool, walk, bike, scooter, or bus to the market, bringing your own reusable bags (be sure to grab a reusable bag punch card to receive a reward for bringing your bag to the market!), participating in our Need a Bag? Take a Bag program, and taking part in our Buy 2 Give 1 Gleaning program, in which consumers are encouraged to buy additional produce to help feed those in need.

Sources:

[i] Weber, C. L., & Matthews, H. S. (2008). Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 42(10), 3508–3513. http://doi.org/10.1021/es702969f.

[ii] Demitz, Christi & Ball, Jessica. (2016). Farmer’s Markets and Sustainability: Part Two. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/farmers_markets_and_sustainability_part_two

[iii] Jilcott SB, Wade S, McGuirt JT, Wu Q, Lazorick S, Moore JB. (2011). The association between the food environment and weight status among eastern North Carolina youth. Public Health Nutrition, 14(9):1610-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21486525

[iv] Steven Cummins, Sally Macintyre, Food environments and obesity—neighbourhood or nation?, International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 35, Issue 1, February 2006, Pages 100–104, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyi276

[v]  Lamendola, K. (2016). Farmers Markets: Community Benefits and Best Practices [PowerPoint slides]. http://www.k2hwny.org/content/sites/p2wny/resource_p2_/FarmersMarkets_BenefitsBestPractices.pdf

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