Lessons From The Farmers Market

This past August and September, I sourced almost all of my food from the Charlottesville farmers market, the Market Street Market. My goal was to eat healthier and more mindfully, while doing my part to live sustainably. I walked to the market each Saturday, negating the need for transportation -- and got a bit of exercise in the process! I loved being able to support local vendors and eliminate any waste by buying only what I needed on a week or biweekly basis. The only exceptions I made to my locally-sourced purchases were avocados, almond milk, and sustainably-caught canned tuna.

 

Photo courtesy of the author

 

Some of my favorite products are the mushrooms, eggs, and purple bell peppers. If you have an extra buck, the meals are great too! I particularly enjoy the gluten free breakfast sandwiches at the Orange Dot Baking Company booth. I love talking to the vendors and knowing where all of my food was coming from. I think farmers markets are so important in that way: not only do we know where our food comes from, but we can form real relationships with the people that farm and bring the food to the market. I love conversing with the stall owners. It is more community-based and intimate than a large, grocery store chain, where you don’t know who grew the food, where it’s from, or how it was processed. I can imagine what it would be like to shop at the farmers market year-round, and how close you’d get to the stall-owners you’d frequent. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

Photo courtesy of the author

 

This experience made me think more about what my body needs and how I can be more intentional with my choices, both about food and life in general. I bought what I needed, opted for healthier options and avoided the trap that grocery store snack aisles too often set. My body felt cleaner and more energetic, and the effects blended into my everyday life as well. Maintaining the motivation to shop at the farmers market spurred me into a better sleep schedule, made me feel more productive and helped me get my school work done more efficiently, while also prompting me to engage with friends more. I never would have imagined that one decision on a Saturday morning would have so many other positive effects, but truly did.

 

Photo courtesy of Fotoworkshop4You

 

Inevitably, the semester caught up with me and I was unable to continue sourcing all of my produce from the farmers market, but I still go whenever I can. The effects and habits that I created, however, still linger and persist day-to-day. While I go to the grocery store now, I strive to get only what I need and stick to healthy options. I definitely fall prey to the snack aisles from time to time, but I’m much better about my general consumption.

 

I encourage everyone to go at least once to a farmers market and see what changes it may inspire in you!