By Vito DeFrancesco for SUST 210 online
Farmers markets are a way to support the local food system in our suburban and urban communities. These markets are either set up on a seasonal basis or are actually permanent establishments within the community. The majority of the produce that is sold at these markets is grown organically. Most markets also offer meats that are raised humanely as well as handmade cheeses, free-range chicken and eggs, and even local specialties that cannot be purchased elsewhere. The markets provide quality produce that is grown locally and with fewer preservatives and toxins.
On the other hand, the majority of stores and super markets sell produce that is grown with preservatives and other artificial chemicals in order to be mass-produced at a cheap price for the general population. While it is great from an economic perspective to purchase a large amount of produce for a fraction of the price that it would cost to shop at a farmers market, the benefits of purchasing produce locally from a farmers market definitely outweigh the negatives and even the slightly higher cost.
Back in my hometown of Bartlett IL, farmers markets are hosted on a seasonal basis while there are a few stationary markets close to where I live. These markets provide an opportunity to shop locally and pick up quality produce at a reasonable price. The farmers markets are typically more numerous during the summer months. The location information of each of the markets as well as the days and times that they are available on can be found at the Village of Bartlett’s website.
During the summer months, my father usually stops by these markets after work since the majority of them are close to his place of work. The best times to stop by the markets are early in the morning, sometimes even before they open, in order to purchase the best produce available. Shopping at these markets are a great way to contribute to the local farming industry and give back to the community of Bartlett — and other suburban communities like it.
Each week during the Fall 2013 semester, students in Prof. Mike Bryson’s SUST 210 Sustainable Future online class at Roosevelt University will contribute blog posts on suburban sustainability issues to the Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future website.