Recently, we’ve been barraged with the message to buy local, to support shops in our towns and to avoid the big, evil corporations.
Others say it’s too expensive to buy local, that Walmart is affordable. However, that isn’t the whole picture. It’s time to look at some facts.
When people buy local, rather than at a supermarket such as Walmart or Family Fare, twice the money stays in the community, according to a study done by the New Economics Foundation and researcher David Boyle. The money stays in the area rather than flowing outward to other states.
It is exciting to us at the Lanthorn to have the opportunity to support our local community here in Allendale and the neighboring cities we often frequent. The Farmers Market starts on June 4 and will continue until September, occurring every other Wednesday.
A Farmers Market allows you to meet and interact with the people who are growing and making your food. You have the chance to ask questions and get the answers immediately. You know which farm, field and orchard the products are coming from. You can even drive by that farm. The food isn’t being packed in a truck and hauled across the country. It isn’t sitting on the shelf for days or weeks.
In addition to fresher produce, the food you buy at local farmers markets is greener -- and we don't mean under-ripe. When you buy local fresh food, you're cutting out a sometimes lengthy journey from the field to the store, a journey that is often fossil fuel-intensive. Another upside to food bought at a farmers market is that it often has fewer chemicals sprayed on it, usually because that produce isn't expected to sit on shelves and look fresher than it is.
While going to the farmers market may take a bit more effort and planning than a quick run to the grocery store around the corner, the benefits to the community and the consumer far outweigh the extra effort. Make little changes, buy all your produce from the market over the summer or only eat eggs from locally raised chickens. A little change can make a huge difference.
If you can't make it to the GVSU Farmers Market, check out some other markets in the area, such as the one in downtown Holland or the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.
This year’s vendors include: Goen’s Produce, Ham Family Farm, The Great Bread Company, Wise Farms, Frozen Creek Farms, Farm Country Cheese, JMC Kettle Corn, Hudsonville Honey, Maisy’s Pies, Healthy Pantry Bars, Lindberg Blueberries (seasonal, usually the month of July), Community Garden, Inge Brummans Fresh Flowers (seasonal, usually begins the last week of June or first week of July), Mike’s Processing, Happy Green’s, Billi’s Goodies and Thunderfoot Meats.