Too Many Farmers Markets?

Farmers Market

A recent piece in the New York Times talked to some farmer’s market organizers and farmers about a relatively new problem: too many farmers markets.

My friend Duane, who organizes the Decatur Farmers Market here in the Atlanta area, pointed me to this article, and it was a great read! According to Katie Zezima at the Times:

Farmers in pockets of the country say the number of farmers’ markets has outstripped demand, a consequence of a clamor for markets that are closer to customers and communities that want multiple markets.

Every neighborhood seems to have a farmers market lately. That’s certainly the case here in Atlanta, and it sounds like it’s happening all over the country. But is the problem too many markets, or is the problem with how we shop for our food?

For every sparsely-attended farmers market, how many Wal-marts or Krogers are mobbed with people doing their grocery shopping? And you can’t really argue that farmers markets are that much more expensive than the regular grocery store. Most of the markets I’ve visited in the past few years have pretty great prices on produce and even accept WIC or food stamps.

I’d argue that, rather than fewer farmers markets, we need a campaign to educate people about the economic benefits of supporting local farmers and the health benefits of eating fresh, local food.

What do you guys think about this New York Times piece?

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Natalie Maynor

One Comment

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  1. I have to agree with the author of the article. I think there are too many markets. I have at least EIGHT in my area (Tampa Bay). Those eight markets are very sparse for the most part too. I see some of the same products/vendors at multiple markets and just not enough variety. I wish they could all get together and have one huge market that lasts all day or even multiple days. I would drive further for more of a destination (music, food) and not just a quick stop for fresh veggies, eggs and soap.

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