Good news for all foodies and enviro-conscious shoppers out there: the number of urban farmers’ markets is on the rise. According to the Indy Star website, “After 18 years of steady increases, the number of farmers markets across the country now registered with the USDA is 7,864. In 1994, there were 1,744.” This is a steady increase, signaling a healthy interest in sustainable living and environmental awareness, beginning with a topic close to most hearts: food. It seems people are coming around to the idea of seeking out food of which they can trace the origins, as well as keeping their communities sustained. Sales of these local fruits, vegetables, and other products could not have plumped up as much as they have without support from a public ready to receive these good-for-you goods.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of direct sales markets has seen an almost 10 percent increase in the previous year. New York and California, somewhat unsurprisingly, are the leaders in the numbers of markets. Apparently, San Francisco has an abundant market for locally produced food. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco is so popular there is a waitlist for those interested in selling there. The market is in its 20th year, and is headed by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. This marks a positive 20 year anniversary in the realm of sustainable living, divergent from the recent shortcoming of the 2 decade anniversary of the Rio Summit.
The increase of farmers’ markets could mean more money reinvested in the community, keeping local land sustainable, and that nearby farmers are supported more fully. These green living opportunities are fortunately becoming more widely available for everyone. The USDA is making these markets friendlier for individuals of all socioeconomic backgrounds, ushering the markets to accept SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, called food stamps in the past. This is a significant step in supplying those in lower income brackets with healthy food from local sources.