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Nourish your body and achieve a healthy lifestyle by shopping for food at farmers' markets

Farmers markets

(NaturalNews) Farmers' markets are growing in popularity worldwide. And now wonder: these markets provide benefits not just for the farmers and the people who buy from them, but for their communities and even the planet as a whole.

Although there is no legal definition of the term "farmers' market" -- thus allowing even major supermarkets to use the term to sell produce grown halfway across the globe -- the widely accepted definition is a market where producers sell directly to consumers. These "producers-only" markets, as a consequence, sell only local, seasonal produce.

At a sham farmers' market, buyers may be reselling food they purchased wholesale that was grown in another state, or even another country.

Local, seasonal food for your health

What's so great about fresh, seasonal produce? First of all, it helps reconnect you to your home bioregion and its natural cycles. It's important for children in particular to understand that food comes from the earth and is grown by human beings. Something vital is lost when we come to expect access to any food, from any part of the planet, at any time.

Second of all, food transported a short distance to a market immediately after picking is much fresher than food from supermarkets, which has often been shipped hundreds of miles under refrigeration, stored long periods of time, then gassed to artificially stimulate ripening. Produce from stores may also have been waxed, irradiated, or otherwise tampered with.

Farmers' market produce has undergone none of this manipulation, which means its nutrient content is much higher -- and its flavors much more vibrant.

Because food at farmers markets doesn't have to stand up to shipping and storage, farmers are able to grow more fragile (and nutritious and tasty) heirloom varieties of crops. Combined with the way that a market's offerings varies with the seasons, this means that people who frequent farmer's markets eat a much wider variety of foods than people who shop at supermarkets. And because each food (or food variety) contains a slightly different nutrient content than any other, people who eat a wider variety of foods also tend to be better nourished.

Many farmers markets also feature wide selections of organically grown produce, which is healthier for your body and the planet. But don't assume that everything at a farmers' market is organic. While some markets have rules requiring all produce to be grown without synthetic chemicals, others are open to farmers using many techniques. This is another reason to stick to producers-only markets: that way, you can ask farmers directly about their growing practices, and maybe even schedule a visit to view the farm.

Good for communities, good for the earth

A farmers market and be as good for the soul as for the body. A good farmers market is a community affair, providing a place where people can gather, meet their neighbors, and learn more about their food and where it comes from. Some markets even offer cooking tips or meal ideas. It's hard to find an experience more different than the sterile, fluorescent-lit supermarket shopping trip.

When you shop at a farmers' market, you also know that you ware supporting family farmers in the face of a rapidly expanding globalized agricultural market dominated by a handful of seed, pesticide and biotech companies. By eating local, you are dramatically reducing the impact that your eating has on the plant, cutting out the massive waste that goes into packaging and transporting food in this country. If you eat animal products, you are also typically supporting farmers who eschew factory farming in favor of allowing animals natural diets, behaviors and a life lived outdoors.

What are you waiting for? Find your farmers' market today.





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