Monday, January 16, 2006

Farmers markets increase in popularity across the nation, locally

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Article Last Updated: 6/12/2005 07:26 AM

A growing trend
Farmers markets increase in popularity across the nation, locally
By Barbara Smith/Staff Writer

In big cities and small towns, farmers markets are finding fertile ground: The U.S. Agriculture Department says their number has doubled nationally in the past decade, to more than 3,700.
That doesn't surprise Lassa Skinner, organizer of Vacaville's farmers market. Skinner said there are plenty of reasons that markets are soaring in popularity, and one is that farmers markets are evolving into the center of 'community.' People long for a place to aggregate with their children and the farmers market is the right place, she said.

'They're buying their groceries, meeting farmers, and meeting in a communal place. ... It's really down to earth,' Skinner said. 'I think that's really an important thing, and an offshoot of a farm. It's become a community gathering place.'

In fact, the Vacaville Farmers Market, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, will move a couple of blocks to East Main Street in two weeks, Skinner said. The move is to expand the market.

The growing popularity of the markets is also attributed to a number of other factors: less tolerance for bland meat and produce some consumers associate with big factory farms; more demand for the just-picked freshness and nutrition of locally grown food; increased awareness about supporting local economies; and health and environmental concerns about the use of antibiotics and pesticides.

Skinner agrees. She said that across the country and internationally, that's the main thrust behind a farmers market.
"People want to know what they're eating and they want "

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