Get It Fresh At A Farmers Market

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has declared this week, August 2-8, 2009, National Farmers Market Week. If you haven't already visited your local farmers market, make sure to this week and the rest of the season.
There are many advantages of consuming locally grown food. Fresh, locally grown produce that is picked when perfectly ripened has enhanced taste, aroma, and nutritive value. And by eating fresh fruit and vegetables from farmers markets, you're consuming healthier fare and fewer empty calories.

Buying from a farmers market also supports local farmers and helps strengthen communities by building local economies - in addition to providing fresh, nutritious food for you.  So remember, shopping is not only good for you, it's good for your community and helps reduce the amount of energy used for food transportation.

The existing system of food transportation and distribution requires enormous amounts of energy and resources. Before reaching your table, the average food item in the United States will travel 1,300 miles. Only about 10% of the fossil fuel energy used in the world's food system is used for production. The other 90 percent goes into packaging, transportation, and food marketing.
In particular, if you live in a rural community, spending some of your food dollars at your local farmers market is crucial.  For years we have urged USDA to invest more in rural farmers markets through initiatives like the Farmers Market Promotion Program grants.  We'd be hypocritical if we failed to challenge rural consumers to do the same.

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