Saturday, August 6, 2011

Are Farmer's Markets Good for the Local Economy?

As Huron Daily Tribune staff writer Traci Weisenbach reports explosive growth says "yes." 
While farmers markets are growing in numbers nationally, they could be doing a lot better, according to a report released Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). What’s holding farmers markets back? Federal policies that favor industrial agriculture at their expense, the report stated.
“On the whole, farmers markets have seen exceptional growth, providing local communities with fresh food direct from the farm,” stated Jeffrey O’Hara, the author of the report and an economist with UCS’s Food and Environment Program. “But our federal food policies are working against them. If the U.S. government diverted just a small amount of the ... subsidies it (gives to) industrial agriculture to support these markets and small local farmers, it would not only improve American diets, it would generate tens of thousands of new jobs.”

UCS released the report just a few days before the 12th annual U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Farmers Market Week, which starts Sunday. According to the report, “Market Forces: Creating Jobs through Public Investment in Local and Regional Food Systems,” the number of farmers markets nationwide more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, jumping from 2,863 to 6,132, and now more than 100,000 farms sell food directly to local consumers.
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