4 Reasons to Shop at Your Farmers Market – Especially During COVID-19
Are you using that extra time working from home to hone your cooking skills? If so, you’re like 58% of people who say they are “cooking more frequently at home compared to the same time last year” according to this July 2020 survey by the OSU Food Waste Collective.
If your fridge has been more well-stocked than usual since March, 33% of participants are in your company. About 25% have even added another fridge to their home since then! Luckily, the mass-stockpiling of goods has faded as we adjust to life in the time of COVID-19.
Regardless of the amount, the process of getting highly-quality ingredients safely to your home is still a top priority for most of us. Farmers markets offer some of the cleanest, most local, and most socially distant options for keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy.
1. Social Distancing is Easy
Outdoor markets provide the widest aisles. It’s that simple! Normally, that six-foot plus of extra space is filled with other shoppers, musical acts, food samples, and gorgeous flower displays, but now markets are using signs, staff, and sidewalk chalk to mark the safe social distance. Masks are mandatory for all market vendors and staff (and shoppers within six feet of each other).
2. Outdoors is Safer
“We know that being outdoors is a lower risk for coronavirus transmission than being indoors,” says Harvard epidemiologist Julia L. Marcus in this NY Times article.
Outdoor markets mean you breathe cleaner air, that any potential virus is blown away by wind more quickly, and the temporary nature of pop-up tents makes them easy to space for social distancing and quick to clean.
3. Fewer Hands = Less Risk
The hands that picked your produce at the local farmers market are the same hands bundling, packing, and selling it to you.
In grocery stores (just the tail end of the industrial food system), the pickers, packers, shippers, and handlers are all separate people. Likely dozens, sometimes hundreds of people.
Farmers markets now offer the convenience of online ordering with online payment and curbside pickup, just like your grocery store.
4. Small Businesses Strengthen the Economy
Did you know small businesses, including farmers, are responsible for two out of every three new jobs created in the U.S.?
Farmers markets are made of small, local entrepreneurs. Every purchase from a local producer keeps two-to-three times more money (30-45c/$1 locally vs. 15c/$1 with big-box retailers) in the local economy which creates stable jobs, improves schools, and contributes to prosperity in the area. Small farmers, specifically, create 13 new jobs for every $1 million income while their large farm counterparts only create three jobs with the same amount.
Many small businesses in Downtown Columbus have been impacted by COVID-19. The Pearl Market and adjacent brick-and-mortar businesses on Gay Street support each other by purchasing ingredients for their culinary creations, flyers for their promotions, or lunch for themselves during the market. These regular sales stabilize small businesses in an uncertain time.
Shop Farmers Markets
Whether you’re looking to help your neighbors, stabilize the economy, stay safe, or make a healthy, high-quality meal, there’s always a great reason to shop at your local farmers market. And if you live or work in Downtown Columbus, Pearl Market is right in your backyard.
The Pearl Market runs on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. through October 16, 2020!
The Pearl Market is a local pop-up outdoor market connecting Ohio-fresh produce, farm products, and artisan-made goods with the urban heart of Columbus. Open May-October, Tuesdays & Fridays, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Stop by at Gay & Pearl streets to check it out or click here to order and pay online. Visit the Pearl Market on Facebook, Instagram or at pearlmarket.org.