Five reasons to shop local

Boulder County Farmers Markets

Last month we launched our #Take5forLocal campaign to celebrate and empower our local food community. So far, nearly 150 of you have signed up to take five to support Boulder County Farmers Markets and the over one hundred farmers, ranchers and producers we support.

While we ask that you only take five, there are dozens of reasons why supporting local markets makes a difference. But we don’t want to bore you like we do with those poor folks who fall into the trap of making small talk with us at parties and make the mistake of asking what we do for a living.

Instead, we keep our ravings to a minimum and only share our top five reasons to shop local.

Take 5 for your local economy

Did you know that for every dollar you spend on groceries at your local grocery store, approximately 80% doesn’t go to the farmers themselves? Regardless of where your chosen apple, broccoli, or corn is grown, it’s likely that the majority of the costs that contribute to the retail price go to the transportation, storage, and marketing of these foods. Alternatively, when you buy direct from your farmer at our farmers markets, your dollars go straight back to the people who plant, grow and harvest the food. The same goes for our bakers, brewers, and cooks—which means every dollar spent creates a positive ripple effect that spreads throughout our community.

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Reduce your carbon footprint

The health of our planet is crucial to the production of healthy food. When you shop local, you support farmers, ranchers and producers working to improve soil health, raise livestock ethically and use our land and water resources wisely – because when farmers’ focus goes beyond the bottom line, the Protecting our planet will come to the fore. Plus, the carbon footprint of your groceries is infinitely smaller when you shop locally. The juicy tomato you have big Caprese plans for has traveled just 10 miles from the Rocky Mountain Fresh greenhouses to the Boulder County Fairgrounds. But elsewhere, that same tomato (minus a ton of flavor) most likely came from California and had to travel over 1,000 miles to get to your plate.

Dave Thomas, farmer and owner of Rough & Ready Farm, inspects vegetables being grown for sale at Longmont Farmers Market.  (Boulder County Farmers Markets ??

Know who grows your food

5 for Local is the easiest way to talk to your farmer on a first-name basis – and who wouldn’t want that? Shopping locally gives you the opportunity to learn the names, faces and stories of the people behind our local food system. They’ll give you the best advice on how to prepare veggies, and if you ask hard enough, they might plant another plot of strawberries next year because they’re your favorites. It’s also important to empower small businesses and local farm owners to support a future that recognizes and rewards the work of our farmers. Large-scale industrial agriculture is notorious for abusing workers through hazardous working conditions and unaffordable wages. Our smallholders care more about farming that creates sustainable relationships with the earth, customers and employees than about cutting corners to make a quick buck.

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Connect with your community

Shopping at the farmers market is more than just a shopping spree. It’s the perfect excuse to stroll with an old friend and meet a new one, and once you’re in the markets you’ll have the chance to meet the local musicians, artists and business owners that make our community come alive. Plus, there’s always an opportunity to learn from local nonprofits, try a yoga class, and do a craft project with your child (or your inner child).

Best of all, when you shop at our markets, you’re supporting our grocery access programs, which allow members of our community with SNAP and WIC benefits to shop for the highest quality groceries without breaking the bank.

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Enjoy every bite

Last but not least: Regional food simply tastes better. Regional means fresh and fresh means delicious. When products don’t have to travel across the country and sit on a shelf, they have more time to mature and reach their full flavor potential. The same goes for the bakers and chefs who bake and cook on the eve or morning of the market. Shopping at the farmers market gives you access to a wide variety of quality foods and specialty ingredients to make every dish tastier and healthier.

To be honest, you don’t have to buy all your groceries at the farmers market to make a difference. Whether you’re spending $5 this season, buying five new items, or supporting five vendors, every small action adds up to make a big difference.

Learn more about how to use #Take5forLocal by visiting bcfm.org/take-5. Our Saturday markets in Boulder and Longmont are bursting with fall abundance – join us now through November 19th to make a difference for our local farmers.

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