Think your local farmers market or community supported agriculture program is too expensive or indulgent? You might want to think again before you opt for a trip to your local supermarket instead. A recent report conducted by a Bard College Center for Environmental Policy grad student revealed that prices were consistently lower at farmers markets than supermarkets.
The study, conducted for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, found that many of the conventional items at farmers markets were lower than supermarket sticker prices, and surprisingly, similar organic fruit and vegetable options were lower than grocery stores in every case.
The 5-member research team headed up by Bard grad student Jake Robert Claro, collected prices from 10 farmers markets and compared those with 10 conventional supermarkets in the same area of Vermont. Items compared included blueberries, melons, corn, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, potatoes, peas, beans, squash, tomatoes and eggs. While some items (potatoes and eggs) were considerably less expensive in supermarkets, the majority of items sampled came out cheaper when purchased directly from the farmer.
The number of farmers markets are on the rise across the U.S, and not only offer consumers considerably fresher and healthier selections while also cutting down on the fossil fuels used to transport produce from other states or countries, but in light of the USDA's recent "food desert" map that highlights more than 13 million Americans living without nearby access to fresh food, farmers markets may be the only viable access to fresh food certain parts of the country have.
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Photo: Jill Ettinger