August 5, 2020
This year, National Farmers’ Market week runs from August 2nd through August 8th. Nationally recognized by the Secretary of Agriculture in 2014, this week is an annual celebration of farmers’ markets across the country – recognizing the hard work of our local, sustainable farmers and celebrating the relationships made between farmers and consumers.
You can celebrate by checking out your local farmers’ market this week, and encouraging your friends and family to do the same! Due to the current pandemic, many restaurants and markets are closed to the public, or have severely limited their sales. These markets are where many local farmers sell their produce. This year, it’s more important than ever to support these farmers as they work to find new ways to sell their products.
By purchasing local, you’ll be helping to strengthen your local economy. When you spend money in your community, you’re supporting your neighbors as they provide you with fresh, nutritious food. Local farmers also reduce the environmental impact of food delivery and help keep people employed. This farm-to-table relationship is especially important during times of crisis. You’ll be rewarded with a supply of fresh produce and can feel great knowing that your money is supporting a vital community asset.
The pandemic has forced many people to think about where their food comes from, and has prompted many changes in food habits. Disruption in food supplies across the nation has shown that we need to build resilient local and regional food systems. Large, industrial food chains are too fragile in the face of a crisis and breakdown. Shopping by a nearby farmers’ market is an easy way to invest in a sustainable food system that benefits both farmer and consumer.
Visit this list from the Maryland Farmers Market Association to find the closest market to you.
Open-air farmers’ markets are also a safe choice for shopping during this global COVID-19 pandemic. Outdoor markets have made several changes and have taken health and safety precautions such as gloves and masks for market staff, limitations on patrons in the markets, and social distancing requirements for shoppers.
There are many other ways that you can support local, visionary farmers while at home. Spreading the message about local farmers through social media is a great way to raise awareness and increase participation in your community. Follow the Fair Farms Campaign on social media for up-to-date news, stories and profiles about local, sustainable farms in Maryland. You can also take the Fair Farms Pledge to commit to supporting the farming community year-round.