Are Farmers Markets Hurting Small Communities?

At the Soulard Farmers Market I go to, I have noticed an expansion of the farmers who do business there. There have always been small farmers from Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri. And lots of the vendors there are actually from around the metropolitan area. More and more, I’m seeing vendors from a lot further away. For example, there’s a somewhat amazing growth of Amish vendors, who I know have to come from at least a three hours drive away. That means they have to leave home at around 3 o’clock in the morning to get there in time for the market opening at 6 o’clock.

But Salon has a story about how farmers may be neglecting their own communities to sell at higher prices to city folk who want to get in on the local food movement. That’s on our News Page today.

As reporter Riddhi Shah puts it:

What if the ruddy man in overalls actually came from hours away, where local residents don’t have access to the vegetables grown near their own backyards because farmers prefer selling their produce to city dwellers at nearly triple the price?

Shah interviews a historian about the growth of farmers markets and what that means for food distribution in our country. Read more on the News Page.

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