The Health Benefits of Farmers' Markets
By Lisa Zarny, MS, RD, CD-N, Clinical Nutrition Manager
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Farmers' markets are an important staple in our communities. Not only can you enjoy locally grown flowers and produce, but you can also help your environment. Did you know that food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your dinner table? Shipping contributes to a host of problems, including large amounts of pollution, and excess use of natural resources (fossil fuels). These have long-lasting and severely damaging consequences on our environment. In contrast, food found at your local farmers' market is transported much shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.
Not only are you helping your local farmers and environment by visiting farmers’ markets, but you are helping your body! Food nourishes our bodies and we need a varied amount of food to ensure we receive all the necessary nutrients. Much of the food found in grocery stores is highly processed; some of the produce in these establishments may contain pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. All of these practices can have extremely negative effects on our health, not to mention robbing our food of its nutritional value.
On the other hand, the food we find at our local farmers market is minimally processed and grown in the most nutritious ways possible.
There are many area farmers’ markets that are available in our area. The following are a brief listing of area markets: Bridgeport- Black Rock; Darien, Greenwich, Fairfield and Stamford. Go visit your local farmers’ market this season!
Source cited: CUESA.org