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How to start a farmer's market

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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!
 
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I miss Anchorage.... *sigh*
zieak (author)  HisDivineShadow3 years ago
The big city? Where's home now?
North centrak Texas, but when I am over and done with college either Anchorage, maybe Utah or Colorado...
meh
Nawww Fairbanks is the place to be;-)
Never made it that far north I don't think... Maybe once...
Excellent points. Once again you have shared with this community. Thanks so much. BTW who are the fetching couple in the last page? wink wink nudge nudge ;0)
zieak (author)  porcupinemamma3 years ago
Had to slip that pic in!
canida3 years ago
Whoa, cool! That sounds like a lot of work for a great cause.
What did you sell at the market?
zieak (author)  canida3 years ago
We sold a pretty eclectic collection of stuff. We had some glasses cut from beer and wine bottles, coasters from scrabble tiles, earrings from spoon handles, scrabble tile wine charms, bottle cap magnets, lots of coasters of things embedded in epoxy. Our son did root beer floats and made a killing!
bruno130693 years ago
My hometown has an outdoor Farmer's Market that runs from early May to late October. 2011 will be the 10th year and it's a great place to hang out on Saturday mornings during the Spring/Summer/Fall months.

Nice write-up and ideas. Our market had to invest in a refrigerator and a generator this summer to stay with health code for some products: eggs, sausage, raw meats. This just means more products can be available!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Farmers markets are always fun, great job on getting one started in your town!
Looks like you had a good turnout despite the missed communication you describe. The next one is sure to be bigger, as the people who missed it this time are sure to attend.

zieak (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
Thanks! Sounds like I need to make it more clear that this was a market that took place the whole summer of 2010.

Next year is sure to be bigger especially as local gardeners think ahead to a summer of sales.
Ahh I see now, you mention a winter commute to Juneau in the first sentence which set the scene for me. Thanks for clearing that up.

Good luck at next years'!