Farmers markets have a wide range of positive impacts on the communities they serve. Farmers markets help strengthen local agriculture, bolster the regional economy, increase access to healthy foods, foster emerging small businesses, act as a gateway to agritourism destinations and serve as an important gathering place for the community. And now, as the positive impacts of farmers markets are being studied more closely, it is clear that the impact of farmers markets ripple out beyond the local level and are making a big difference in national issues of climate change, hunger and the economy.

The enormous scale of industrial agriculture has a negative effect on the climate due to emissions, runoff and deforestation, among other factors. Farmers markets help support the success of farmers who employ regenerative, more natural practices that are better for the environment. Additionally, small growers that participate at farmers markets are in a better position to adopt climate-smart practices that maintain the health of the soil and manage water and pests better. While the impact of any one farmers market vendor may be small, the fact that hundreds of farmers markets support the success of thousands of environmentally sustainable farms across the country mean that the combined impact is making a real difference.

Reza Djalal is the market manager for the Adams County Farmers Market Association. You can reach him at manager@acfarmersmarkets.org or visit http://www.acfarmersmarkets.org for more information.

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