Fresh Food in Winter
Farmer’s markets are one of the most convenient ways for urbanites to feel connected to the food the eat. Markets selling everything from mushrooms to ground turkey are available throughout New York City. For one, these markets can revitalize communities and secondly they can provide fresh food to communities that might otherwise not be able to get it. But on a topic of sustainability they help out too. Urban farmers markets provide a place for local rural farms to sell their products. Some urban farming does exist (which is another topic we will delve into). But the majority of food production, meat, vegetable, and processed foods, comes from outside the city. City farmer’s markets can help maintain the viability of the surrounding rural food production.
There has been an explosion in the interest and growth of farmer’s markets. There has been an increase in the number of people wanting to buy local, sell local, and eat local, according to the Executive Director of the The Farmer’s Market Federation of New York, Diane Eggert.
“It’s a growing industry. I think every year New York State has 15 to 20 new markets.” said Eggert.
In addition, many markets including the one at Union Square provide access and information to food composting programs. The availability of fresh produce can get people more involved with the food they eat and the issues surrounding food. Living in a city, there are few opportunities to speak with vegetable growers or cattle raisers. The farmers and food producers often attend the markets themselves, giving shoppers the opportunity to speak directly with the producers of their food. This also gives the food producers direct access to customer feedback. They have the opportunity to react more quicky to changes in the market place, according to Eggert.
They are promoting regional agriculture by supporting small farms, according to Sabine Hrechdakian, Special Projects and Publicity Manager at Greenmarket, Council on the Environment of NY. This past weekend I spoke with a fisherman that says his company is too small to provide wholesale fish to supermarket chains. They rely on direct producer to buyer sales at farmers markets to sell their fish.
“You can’t talk about any of the major environmental issues without having them connect back to food,” said Hrechdakian.
Check out these photos from a recent Friday in Union Square’s Greenmarket.