Sunday marks the first day of this year's National Farmers Market Week here in the US and it's a perfect time to make your 1st (or your 10th or 65th or 209th) trip to a market.
Farmers markets have become huge in the past 11 years as more and more people see the benefits of eating local. It's fantastic to see each market that I go to during the week packed with people from open to close - and sometimes even a bit after close. I know I've certainly done my fair share of running around with 10 minutes left because I got a late start. It's not pretty.
Since 2000, the number of farmers markets has grown 150% from 2,863 to 7,175. That number is mind boggling to me. It's incredible to see people really caring about what they put into their bodies and how they treat our planet. Because not only does eating local help you towards a healthier lifestyle, it also helps the local farmer continue to do what they love. And it helps cut down on fuel usage and air pollution caused by transporting big company produce all over the country.
I know it's hard to get started and stay committed to eating local. I'm going through that struggle myself. I am definitely a newcomer to the locavore lifestyle and I'm far from perfect. Really far. Heck, I can't go a week without an Oreo. But if I can offer any advice it's this: don't get overwhelmed.
Because I've found that it's not about being perfect - it's about trying. It's about eating quality food. It's about caring for the people who put their lives into their farms. It's about wanting a better, more sustainable Earth for ourselves and those to come.
So try it. Go to a farmers market this weekend or in the coming week and just try.
PS: If you're not sure where to find a market near you, use the USDA Farmers Market Directory!