HEALTH: Easy Recipe for Success: Shop Local, Eat Local

ARUGULA, BERRIES AND FRESH HERBS FROM UNION SQUARE FARMERS MARKET, NYC

WILD ARUGULA, BERRIES AND FRESH HERBS FROM UNION SQUARE FARMERS MARKET, NYC

SPENDING A DAY AT THE (GREEN) MARKET

If you live anywhere within the range of a local farmers market, show some love to the folks who work hard at bringing farm-fresh food to our tables. Supporting these small, independent businesses can do a lot to improve the economy, environment and your community. Besides, locally grown produce just tastes better in my opinion (evident in the above photo)!

Taking a recent Internet vacay, I welcomed a chance to make real connections with real people on a stop at Union Square Greenmarket. Who knew how much fun I’d have strolling through this urban oasis on a bright day, with its wide selection of fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables. It was invigorating and quite informative chatting with shoppers, Greenmarket volunteers and regional farmers while sampling spicy cheese wedges and yummy homemade jams.

Greenmarket Farmers Markets began in 1976 with 12 farmers at a Manhattan parking lot on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue. Today, this is the “largest and most diverse outdoor urban farmers market network in the country,” organizers say, with 54 markets, more than 230 family farms and fishermen participating, and more than 30,000 acres of farmland protected from development.

GrowNYC explains this “unique relationship between farmers and city residents has not only changed the face of regional agriculture; it has revitalized rural communities and urban spaces, improved consumer health, provided fresh and nutritious food to those most in need through our EBT/Food Stamp and Youthmarket programs, supported immigrant farmers, encouraged crop diversity, educated school children and city residents about the importance of regional agriculture, provided a wholesale opportunity for medium-sized farms, inspired new culinary trends and influenced chefs and eaters in one of the culinary capitals in the world.”

Go have an adventure this summer: I want to hear about the discoveries at your nearest farmers market. Low on funds? Don’t rule out the experience because bargains can be found (making it so worth the trip).

Recommended:

GrowNYC: http://www.grownyc.org/

NYC Hunger Free Communities Consortium: http://www.nychungerfree.org

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