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Icons 1423861942 fm icondb Farmers Markets

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Markets have been around since the beginning of urban settlements. The Greeks had agoras, meaning ‘gathering places’. The Romans had forums. In these spaces people would barter and buy cloth and food products, animals and tools. Markets were held seasonally like when the sheep were sheared or the fishing boat came in. City streets were often named Fishmarket Street, Butcher Street, Horse Street, Tailor Street, Etc to communicate that where the markets were located. These markets sold local goods or goods imported to the city.

Today, 80% of the two million farms in the USA are small farms, and a large percentage are family owned. Many of these farmers sell products directly to the public. You can buy this produce, grown locally, from farmer’s markets. Some farmers’ markets are seasonal and some are open year round. There are benefits to buying locally from farmers markets. In addition to the obvious perk of tasting fresher, buying local helps support the community and farmers. It is also better for the environment, because it requires less energy to transport food locally than across the country to around the world. Farmers markets provides a direct connection between the farmer and the consumer and encourages face-to-face meetings so that people know precisely where there food is coming from and who has grown it. People become acquainted with local food growers and develop a stewardship of trust. Farmers markets revitalize neighborhoods, strengthen local economies and empowering community members to learn more about the items they buy.

Activity 1 – Food Travels

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Do you know where your food is from? It could very well be from thousands of miles away, shipped into your local supermarket. Look in your kitchen. Find ten different types of foods - cereal, orange juice, apples, bananas, crackers, cheese, lettuce, chicken, ice cream, etc. Look at the labels to see where the foods are produced and/or distributed. Are any of your reserves homegrown or bought locally? Document at least 5 different foods from your kitchen. Make a distance chart of how many miles each food item has traveled. Calculate the percentage of food you have that is produced locally.

Support your local farmers by buying local!

Activity 2 – Farmers Market Fun

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Find out where there is a local farmers market around where you live! Ask questions about what is available to those who frequent the market. Visit the market and talk with the vendors and farmers themselves. Take pictures or illustrate your adventure, and write down what you experienced.

Know your food! Know your farmer!

Activity 3 – Research Farmers Markets in Your City

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Once you have discovered and visited your farmers’ market in your community, take a look at the explore links and research farmers markets around the world. Where do other cultures get their food? How far do people travel to find local food markets? What do their markets look like? Are there permanent markets in some cities? Are some farmer markets year round? Print a map of the world and collect pictures of other marketplaces locating where such markets exist.

Go global with farmers’ markets!

Activity 4 – Seasonal Market

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Seasonal markets have many vendors with many booths and multiple ways of selling, sharing, serving, educating and entertaining the public. Seasonal markets celebrate the change in weather with different games and sport, and sometimes even celebrate holidays. Find and map a seasonal market and the goods and services provided. Photograph and map the essential seasonal festivities and special foods, events, games and fun that occur in a winter, spring, summer or fall market. Provide a map of its location and if possible a list of its vendors and products.

Activity 5 – Map a Historical Market

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Markets that have survived for tens, hundreds and even thousands of years provide many vendors with booths and multiple ways of selling, sharing, serving, educating and entertaining the public. Find and map a historical market and the goods and services provided. Provide a map of its location and digram the types of vendors. See how the stalls are arranged and if there is public gathering space. Markets have existed in cities for centuries. Some have disappeared with advance of the supermarkets, but people are realizing that it is fun to shop for local food sources within their own communities.

Share your Historical Market Map!

Activity 6 – Research World Markets

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Once you have discovered and visited your farmers’ market in your community, take a look at the explore links and research farmers markets around the world. Where do other cultures get their food? How far do people travel to find local food markets? What do their markets look like? Are there permanent markets in some cities? Are some farmer markets year round? Print a map of the world and collect pictures of other marketplaces locating where such markets exist.

Go global with farmers’ markets!

Review

  • Foods from farmers markets are fresh and taste better.
  • Farmers markets allows you to see where and from whom your food is from.
  • It is better for the environment to import foods from around the world.
  • Foods are not seasonal
  • Food transport or importing food is often the highest carbon footprint of living.
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