Living Sustainably: Eight Things to Know about Shopping at a Farmers Market

Eight Things to Know about Shopping at a Farmers Market

By Lisa Uganski, Ottawa Food

Thinking about a visit to the Holland Farmers Market? Here are eight things to know about why local farmers markets are much more than just places to purchase food!

1. Sustainability is the predominant theme at local farmers markets. Farmers engage in sustainable farming practices to produce healthy food to sustain the local community, and the community members provide the money necessary to support the farmers. Each shares in the success of the other.

2. Locally grown food has more nutrients. The longer fruit and veggies spend on trucks or in storage, the greater the loss of vitamins and other nutrients. Because local food is harvested and sold in a short time period, it often has a higher nutritional value than produce that has been transported long distances.

3. Locally grown food tastes great.  Fruits and vegetables at the local farmers market are often the freshest and tastiest you will find! Usually, the produce is picked just hours before being sold.

4. Shopping the market helps protect the environment.  Purchasing locally grown food helps maintain farmland and greenspace in your community. Food sold at local farmers markets is transported short distances, which reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted.

5. Shopping at the market supports your local economy.  Money spent on locally produced food stays in the community longer. This money supports local farmers and stimulates local economic growth.

6. You can learn where your food comes from. A trip to your local farmers market is a great way to learn where your food comes from and how it was produced. Talk to the farmers and ask questions.

7. Connect with your community. Local farmers markets enhance quality of life by cultivating social interaction. Kids’ activities are available each Wednesday at the Holland Farmers Market from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The market also participates in Double Up Food Bucks, a program that helps ensure that community members have access to healthy local food. When shoppers use their Bridge Card to buy SNAP-eligible foods at the market, they get free Double Up Food Bucks to spend on Michigan grown, fresh fruits and veggies. A variety of Holland market vendors also accept Senior Project FRESH and WIC Project FRESH vouchers.

8. Learn cooking tips and discover new recipes. Many farmers have tips about how to select, prepare, and store the foods they are selling. Ask questions! On Saturday mornings at 10 am at the Holland market, area chefs demonstrate how to use fresh, local grown ingredients to prepare healthy meals.

When people eat healthy food, support local businesses, and come together as a community, great things happen! For these reasons and many more, get out and visit your local farmers market.

 Lisa Uganski, RD, MPH, is the coordinator of Ottawa Food (formerly the Ottawa County Food Policy Council), a collaboration of local agencies and individuals working to ensure that all Ottawa County residents have access to healthy, local, and affordable food choices. Check out


Family Shopping.jpg Families can find fresher vegetables and talk to the farmers at the Holland Farmers Market. Contributed photo/Holland Famers Market

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme:

Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

About this series:

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.