Farmers' Markets


Pennsylvania State University, US

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs114

Farmers' markets take place periodically in fixed locations, with farmers and sometimes other artisans convening to sell their goods directly to customers. Street and open air markets are certainly not new. They have flourished worldwide and continue to be important sites for selling and buying food throughout the global South. What is new in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are the resurgence and reconstitution of farmers' markets in the global North as alternative spaces for food consumers who may feel disenchanted or disenfranchised by the increasingly globalized, industrialized food and agricultural system. Promoted by national policies, extension services, local governments, food writers, bloggers, planners, and activists, farmers' markets have burgeoned as favored venues where eaters can find fresh, local, and sustainably produced fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses, and specialty foods. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers' markets in the United States increased more than 300 percent between 1994 and 2012, from 1755 to 7864. They are located unevenly across the landscape, with urban and suburban areas having more customer traffic and higher densities of farmers' markets than rural areas.

Research on the re-emergence of US farmers' markets around the 1980s focused on their role in supporting livelihoods and diversifying ...

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