Reasons to Celebrate Farmers Markets

Source: Garden State Good Food Network

Farmers markets are multifaceted assets to our communities and are an essential component of community engagement and healthy food access. We are so proud of our state Good Food Bucks partners for their dedication to serving their neighbors, and for overcoming the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Stimulating Local Economies: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that for every $1 spent in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $1.80 in economic growth is generated. Furthermore, according to their Economic Research Service, each $1 billion of retail generated by SNAP creates $340 million in farm production, $110 million in farm value-added, and 3,300 farm jobs.

Preserving Farmland: The number of small and mid-size farms in the U.S. has been on the decline for years. In 2019, the Good Food Buck program supported more than 50 small local farmers across our Garden State Good Food Network. Farmers markets provide a lucrative sales outlet for our small local farmers, who are essential players in preserving the health of our soil and productive farmland.

Increasing Access to Healthy Food: At the core of the Good Food Buck program’s mission is creating more equitable access to fresh, healthy foods. Good Food Bucks stretch SNAP dollars further and result in New Jersey SNAP recipients putting more fruits and vegetables on their tables. According to a Wholesome Wave study of SNAP-doubling programs across the country, 92% of participating shoppers said the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchased “made a big difference” in their family’s diet.

Supporting Healthy Communities: In addition to getting the freshest food around, people visit farmers markets for social, political, and educational reasons. For example, at the Greenwood Ave. Farmers Market in Trenton, one of City Green’s longest-standing Good Food Buck partners, you’ll find music and dancing, children’s activities, and a variety of free health screenings provided by the Henry J. Austin Health Center.

Promoting Sustainability: Small local farmers are more likely to use responsible and sustainable growing practices than conventional farms. Local food also requires less traveling to get to you, which means fewer pollutants being released into the atmosphere.

Local farmers and direct-to-consumer outlets have also proven that they can more easily adapt to disruptions in the industrial food supply chains to meet consumer demand and work with their communities to find effective solutions. As a result of the Covid pandemic, many of our Good Food Bucks partners quickly adapted by providing options such as online shopping and drive-through farmers markets.

Thank your farmers — they are an invaluable piece of the fabric of our communities, and we encourage everyone to visit one of our Good Food Bucks partner markets to show your support. We can’t wait to see you there!

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