For the second year in a row the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), has partnered with the Cumberland Food Action Network to produce a handy reference for locating local farmers markets in Cumberland County, NS. The Farmers Markets of Cumberland County (and neighbouring Westmorland, NB) postcard is in essence, a directory of farmers markets for the area, packaged in a practical ‘stick to your fridge’ format. The primary goal of the project is to help to enhance access to local food.
Several postcard users surveyed commented that they had no idea that there were so many local markets and that the postcard not only raised awareness about the existence of these markets, but prompted visits by market-goers that might otherwise have not occurred. The postcard project is helping to accelerate the growing momentum of the local food movement.
This year the postcard added a new small market in Dorchester, NB, to the mix. The EAC Our Food Project (https://www.ecologyaction.ca/ourfood), recently hired another Community Food Coordinator to the Food Team (Aaron Shantz http://www.nbfoodsecurity.ca/westmorland-albert-food-security-action-network/), so it made sense to include our close NB neighbours on the postcard along with the Cumberland markets. There are no borders when it comes to accessing great local food!
So why support farmers markets?
There are so many reasons to shop at farmers markets, not the least of which is to support local farms and be a part of building a local food economy, which ultimately, makes us all less dependent on the grocery store. Buying local, sustainably-produced food helps combat global climate change by reducing our food miles – the distance food travels from field to plate – thus, decreasing our carbon footprint.
The environmental reasons are numerous, but there are also social and other reasons for supporting farmers markets. They provide a direct marketing outlet for local entrepreneurs, such as small farm and food spin-off businesses, local crafters and artists alike. Farmers markets help personalize your food shopping experience. You can get to know your farmer and your neighbours. Plus, markets are a lot of fun! Many feature entertainment, such as live music and buskers, face painting, etc., as well as a wide array of local artisanry, home baking, ethnic foods, and of course, fresh, nutritious veggies to choose from.
Above: Ryan and Andrea MacCleese pose with Chubbles the Clown at the Parrsboro Farmers Market
Below: View of colourful vendors at the June 20th Parrsboro Farmers Market
Another darn good reason for supporting local food markets is that they are a way of revitalizing our rural economy. Local markets provide a meaningful alternative to the current global commodity food system, wherein our food supply is controlled by a handful of multi-national corporations. Farmers markets keep money in our communities vs. exporting it to faceless big businesses like Nestle, Kraft, Cargill, etc., whose only concern is profit. Farmers markets are part of a burgeoning informal economy that works outside of the conventional food system, bringing us hope for a more socially just way of feeding our selves.
Vive la resistance!
For more information on the corporate control of our food production and distribution system see:
For an interesting webinar on the power of small local food businesses to transform rural economies see: http://ngfn.org/resources/ngfn-cluster-calls/pollinating-food-enterprises/
For a closer look at the postcard, please visit the Cumberland Food Action Network (CFAN) website: http://cumberlandfoodactionnetwork.ca/
Not from Cumberland County? Farmers Markets of NS can direct you to your nearest farmers market: http://farmersmarketsnovascotia.ca/find-a-market/
Blog Written By: Su Morin, Ecology Action Centre, Community Food Coordinator – Cumberland County