In praise of ... farmers' markets

UK - Something remarkable is afoot. Britons are tasting cheese before they buy it. They are wondering whether they unfairly dismissed cabbages when they were at school. They are washing mud, and the occasional grub, off their vegetables. Some have even bought food from the farmer who grew it.
calendar icon 24 November 2006
clock icon 1 minute read

This minor revolution is largely thanks to the popularity of farmers' markets, which source food locally and cut out the middleman by having farmers sell it themselves.

Sensibly, most of them have not insisted on organic produce. Although that might not satisfy purists, it helps keep the prices down and means that farmers who are still converting their land to organic methods, who rear free-range meat or who simply try to use fewer pesticides and antibiotics, can still use the markets.

As the high suicide rate among farmers bears out, working the land is sometimes a lonely, depressing job. Markets can help stave off isolation and are helping to banish the perception that modern agriculture is a mechanical and cruel business, kept afloat by intensive methods and government subsidies.


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