Farmers’ markets soar

January 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

It’s interesting that when most economic indicators were plummeting last year, the number of farmers’ markets continued an upward spiral and soared 13% in 2009 — one of the biggest jumps in recent history, according to the USDA. There are now 5,274 farmers’ markets nationwide, compared to 4,685 in 2008. The number of farmers’ markets has grown a whopping 200% since 1994 when there were only 1,755.

This doesn’t surprise us too much in Chatham County. The number of markets in little ol’ Pittsboro (population 2,700) doubled last year. We now have 2. There are 5 markets in our rural county, including the 2 in Pittsboro, 1 in Fearrington, 1 in Siler City and a new one in northeast Chatham on NC 751.  By my reckoning that’s a 66% increase over the previous year.

And there’s another market  just south of PBO in Sanford, and another just north of the county line in Southern Village (that one is connected to the famous Carrboro market, the first in our region, founded back in 1978).  That’s an amazing amount of farmers’ markets in a county with a population of about 69,000.

So what’s going on? It could be that folks are cooking more, eating at home, and figuring that when they are not going out to dine, they can afford the best, freshest ingredients. No doubt some just prefer fresh local chemical-free fare over stale industrialized junk, or maybe they want to support their local economy and people they know. Lowering your carbon footprint by reducing food miles and fossil fuel costs seems like a nice bonus, too.

I suspect it’s all of those factors and something more. When the economy is going to hell, you want to bring a little control back in your life and maybe you just want something authentic.

Like real food from real people.

USDA, from Organic Nation

Entry filed under: Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Food, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

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