Farmers Markets Are Essential | CUESA

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March 30, 2020

Farmers Markets Are Essential


In California, farmers markets are open as essential service during shelter-in-place, along with grocery stores and food banks. Farmers markets provide access to fresh, healthy food, a safe shopping experience, and immediate and long-term benefits for our communities in good times and in times of crisis.

  1. Farmers markets provide access to nutrient-dense foods direct from local farms, including fresh produce and pantry staples. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to keep our immune systems strong when we need it most.
  2. Farmers markets offer a safe alternative to grocery stores. Farmers markets are generally less crowded than grocery stores and are able to quickly respond to community needs, offering handwashing stations, grab-and-go options, and more.
  3. Farmers markets take place in a spacious, open-air setting that provides ample room for social distancing. The temporary nature of farmers markets also means that food is not left on the shelf for days. 
  4. Farmers markets offer shorter supply chains with less food handling. Farmers market food generally travels less than 100 miles from the field to the market, compared to 1,500 miles through conventional distribution channels.
  5. Farmers markets provide vital food access for everyone. Customers using SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) can double their dollars to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at many farmers markets.
  6. Farmers markets support local farmers and small food producers. Investing in local food is critical to community food security, especially in times of international crisis. If we don’t invest in local farms now, we may lose them in the future.
  7. Farmers markets strengthen resilient local food systems, which are more important than ever for community health, the local economy, and the environment—today, and in the recovery ahead.

Stay safe and well while supporting local farms! Learn more: 


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »