farmers market

US Farmers Markets Evolve with Changing Times

Sep 10, 2015
Meagan Perosha / Civil Eats

Farmer’s markets are thriving in the US. As of last year, there were over 8,000 of them across the nation. But these American institutions have changed a good deal over the past decades, notes Harvest Public Media.

For example, while many farmer’s markets are thriving, they are no longer the only way to sell local food. Consumers now turn to grocery stores, delivery services, and community supported agriculture, or CSA, programs.

Sales at farmers markets are slowing dramatically, but that's not necessarily bad news for farmers.

Northern Colorado Food Cluster

More cities want to take eating local food from just a hip trend to an economic generator. But as with many grassroots movements, there can be some growing pains along the way. That has some looking to the tech sector for lessons, as Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon reports.

Transcript of the audio story:

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier. Despite the demand, making local food work in some places is decidedly more difficult than others. Steamboat Springs, Colo., is one of those places.

Problem number one is infrastructure.

Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

April Segura is a regular at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb. On a warm, May afternoon, the single, stay-at-home mother of three greeted friends and acquaintances while strolling past tables of lettuce and herbs. She hoped to find more asparagus for sale.

“I love asparagus season and it’s probably about to be over,” said Segura, holding two grocery bags with one arm and her one-year-old son, Jeriel, with the other.