I live on an island in Alaska. It is a small town of just over 3,000 people. We have no stop light other than the one in front of the fire hall that is turned on to get the fire trucks in and out. We can ferry to Juneau but it takes about 8 hours on the boat during the winter. There is jet service daily so you can be in Seattle or Anchorage in four hours.
Living in a place like this can be very difficult to get fresh produce. Sure, we have a couple of small grocery stores, a service in the summer that brings fruits and vegetables up in trucks, and even a farm to table program that delivers every other week from Washington.
Considering some of these "fresh" is a real stretch. One major thing you can do to improve the foods you eat is to eat locally. Locally grown foods have big benefits to your health, the community, and the environment. Local produce is usually sold within 24 hours of harvest. That means the produce probably has the best flavor and nutrients.
If you're not aware of it, the food you buy - even the "fresh" produce from many stores - typically comes from thousands of miles away. The food is trucked, flown, railed and barged across the country and around the world.
Buying your food locally helps keep your money local. Instead of paying a large company that has corporate offices across the country, pays for advertising, and other expenses, you can pay a neighbor. That neighbor will shop locally. They are more likely to be re-using grocery bags, limiting their use of chemicals, driving a short distance to the market... It becomes a domino-effect of sustainable living choices.
Here's a bit of the story about how we started a market that ran through the summer of 2010 - and will run for many years to come!
Step 1: Develop partnerships and advocates
A "farmer's market" seems like a funny term to use on an island without a single traditional "farm" so we had a vision of the market that also included handcrafts, artwork, musicians, and other vendors.
If you don't already have a market in your area there are probably a lot of other people already considering the need for a farmer's market. Contacting local gardeners, craftsmen, artists, community garden organizers and musicians will give a good indication of the interest. If you have a vision or example of the market you would like to see, try and depict it well for prospective sellers. But at this point you need to make connections that are interested in making the market effort a success.
Skills that are valuable include people with accounting experience, people with non-profit organizational expertise, marketing whizzes, and of course, someone with the drive to keep the ball rolling!