I’m a big believer in supporting the local economy, especially when it comes to local farmers. I live on an island, a very small island that obtains nearly all its food from off island. It doesn’t have to be this way. One way to support local farmers is by buying from them at the farmers market. Today I wanted to talk about the farmers market and give you some awareness so you can support local businesses and support your family while not falling victim to scam marketers.
Island on the Edge
As a documentary fanatic, I tend to always bring back at least one from the library every time Gregory and I visit. I took out one called Island on the Edge. Made in 2007, it talks about how less than 10% of our food is grown locally on Vancouver island. You know, that small island on the map just above Washington (for you American friends). That’s where I was born, raised, and have returned to recently.
Our food comes to us from the ferry and airports. If either of these are no longer able to be used, the residents here would be stranded and our food would run out rather quickly. I really enjoyed this documentary and it made me love what I do at the farm, even more, when I go and volunteer at a local one for work experience.
My eyes opened, and for other islanders who happen to be reading, I urge you to watch and start shopping for food that has been grown locally. Go to your Farmers Market, search for the ‘locally grown’ signs at the grocery stores, skip Walmart and Superstore and read the ‘grown in ____’ words on the package.
For those of you who do not live on the island, I still suggest checking out this particular documentary to gain perspective. It may also encourage you to shop at your local farmer’s markets. So much information, I ended up watching it 3 times before lending it to my neighbour before returning it. Truly, worth the watch.
Farmers Market Scams
Now that you’ve had some information on why we need to shop at the farmers markets and support local farmers, I want to bring some information forth that you should be aware of. Not all sellers at the farmers markets are honest people. There is always someone who is on the hunt for a quick buck and doesn’t portray themselves true.
While most sellers at a Farmers Market are those who make or grow their own product, some people are not. I watched a short video by CBC news a short while ago about farmers market scammers. People who buy produce from wholesalers and sell them claiming to be the original farmer who grew them.
This doesn’t seem like a big deal. I mean, technically, my boss sells his berries at wholesale price, making him a wholesaler. I know a lovely woman who then comes to buy his berries and beets and sells them at two farmers markets close by. This is not what I mean. My boss doesn’t currently sell at farmers markets, she is not claiming to be the farmer (although she often harvests the product herself).
I mean there are people who go out to the trucks who have brought vegetables and fruit from a dispatch center where the food was brought in from all around the world. Then, these people go on to the farmers market and sell them, claiming to be locally grown produce and making quite the profit by putting a higher price tag. Farmers markets can sometimes offer food at a slightly higher price than places, like Walmart, because you are paying for quality, it’s often organic, and overall a healthier piece of food.
Here is the video, click through to get a better idea of what I am trying to convery here.
I actually talked to my boss about this and he explained that this had in fact happened on the island not too many years previous. Not to the same extent. One woman sold fresh produce at a market and claimed they were grown on her own farm when in fact she bought from several farmers who also sold at the market. These farmers were angry because she claimed their product as her own, and now they were competing to sell their own product with their own product.
This seller got caught and was pulled from the market roster. My local farmers market has a council that reviews every applicant for people who want to sell. In fact, the farm I volunteer at just had the council out for an inspection of the farm so that my boss can sell produce next year. They came out to ensure that the application was for a real farm and that this was not a scam to make money. I didn’t know they did that, but I am actually extremely impressed and happy that they take the extra step to ensure that I can shop at my local farmers market knowing I am supporting real and true farmers.
Sometimes it’s not Possible
I understand that it isn’t always possible to shop at a farmers market. Due to whether there are none close by and accessible, to the slightly higher price tags and a tight budget, or for some other reason unforeseen to me. That doesn’t make you a bad person. I didn’t always go to the market, and I still currently shop at grocery stores for my food during the week.
The point of this post today was to bring some awareness to the need of shopping local, supporting local farmers, and a scam that you may be the victim of. I really hope you don’t start going to the farmers market because I’ve told you how wonderful it is, and then you come home with a tomato with a sticker on it, or a bell pepper that come from another country.
Before You Go
I DO hope that you search out and venture to a local farmers market and buy some great food. I will write another post that will tell you some great farmers market tips, ideas on how you can save money while shopping at one, and how you can plan to enjoy the market atmosphere for a great outing. Either yourself or with your family.
Let me know if you knew about the farmers market scam and what you think of this problem that farmers face on top of competing with bigger grocery companies.
Gregory and I love growing our own food, check out some cute videos I have of us gardening when he was one year old in our Condo. You’ll want to scroll down the post to tip #8, or even read through the whole post ansee which 10 chores I suggest you get your toddler to help you out with.