Farmers Markets: Building Healthy Communities

farmersmarketsOver the past few years, farmers markets have grown increasingly popular. From Tacoma to Olympia, these local markets provide a vital service to the communities they serve. Among a number of benefits is the unique opportunity for consumers to connect directly to farmers.

At the Tacoma Farmers Market, the goal is simple: to provide fresh, healthy foods to everyone. “Every community member should have access to fresh, local foods, regardless of income,” says Stacy Carkonen, executive director. It is critical that local farmers continue to receive support, she says. “The market creates a sense of community. We want to support local farms and feed families local foods.” To ensure all members of the community are able to access foods offered at the markets, Tacoma Farmers Market accepts SNAP benefits.

In Puyallup, the farmers market has seen extensive growth in a short period of time. As more people become health conscious and farmers look to share their products with the local community, the market serves as a natural place for both to grow together. Shawn Edwards, farmers market coordinator, says the farmers are more than willing to help educate visitors and will answer questions. “It is a very educational experience. Farmers are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who asks,” says Edwards. Since farmers bring their crops from only a few miles away, the markets have a reduced carbon footprint, for a positive impact on the environment. In addition to fruits and vegetables, visitors to the market can find fresh flowers along with a wide variety of additional vendors.

Whether you are looking for fresh salad ingredients or advice on how to properly cultivate your own herb garden, farmers markets provide neighborhoods a chance to connect with one another and local farmers, creating a true sense of community.

For additional information on the farmers markets in Olympia, Tacoma and Puyallup, please visit the following websites:

olympiafarmersmarket.com – Olympia Market
tacomafarmersmarket.com – Tacoma Market
puyallupmainstreet.com – Puyallup Market

ANDREA LERUM