If it seems like farmers markets have sprouted from every vacant parking lot in the last few years, you’re not imagining things. According to the latest data from the USDA, the number of farmers markets in the United States has grown by 76 percent since 2008. In honor of National Farmers Market Week, here’s a look at the future of farmers markets.
‘Tis the season for trend lists as everyone tries to predict the next big thing for the year ahead. We’ve culled through the lists to compile our own tally of trends that relate to the issues Sustainable America supports: sustainable food and fuel. The good news is that finding encouraging trend predictions was easy—now let’s work together to make them come true!
Did you know there are 10 million acres of front and back yards in America—enough to produce 43.5 million tons of food—but only 35 percent of U.S. households grew food in 2012? Growing where you are gives people the power to eat healthier and revitalize their communities, but many gardeners lack the land they need, and those with the land don’t always know what to do with it.
While rushing to board your next flight, you might not expect farmers’ markets and urban farms among the airport’s fast food joints, mani-pedi stations, and newsstands. At four U.S. airports, however, travelers are encountering exactly that. Check out how the local food movement has arrived at airline terminals in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
After our recent interview with Dan Susman about Growing Cities, his new documentary about urban farming, we were inspired to translate the movie’s core message—”Grow where you are!”—into a digestible guide. Whether it’s planting a windowsill garden, joining a community garden or even building a backyard chicken coop, there are numerous ways to move from relying on factory farms to growing food for yourself and your community, even in a big city.
One of the critical hurdles that farmers in urban areas face is access to affordable land for growing food. The concept of a multi-locational or decentralized farm is an elegant solution to growing food in diverse urban and suburban settings. It seems that more and more farms are using the multi-locational model. We found quite a few successful operations in Canada in particular.
The second-annual Locavore Index, which ranks states in terms of access to locally produced food, was released recently by Strolling of the Heifers, a Vermont-based local food advocacy group. The rankings compare the number of farmers markets, CSAs and food hubs on a per capita basis. Like last year, Vermont came out on top by a landslide, which shows that it is possible for a state to build a thriving local food system. Also, like last year, we used the data to make an infographic. How does your state stack up?
Sustainable food activists Anna Lappe and Danielle Nierenberg join forces to address the issue of food waste worldwide.
Wholesome Wave is a non-profit with a mission to “improve access and affordability of fresh, healthy, locally-grown produce to historically underserved communities.” Its founders believe that “doing so creates economic viability through local food commerce that can rebuild our nation’s food system.”
Some of the top chefs around the country are taking the concept of ‘farm to table’ and the local food movement to a new level by purchasing and running their own farms.