In August, we celebrate National Farmer’s Market Week, a holiday proclaimed by United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Search data shows consumers also love this topic, with the phrase “farm market near me” ranking extremely high on the scale. There are almost 9,000 markets across the country, and more frequently, grocery stores are carrying and making a special effort to highlight locally grown products. These are all admirable ways to support our farmers. But since we believe in setting the bar as high as it will reasonably go, we wanted to ask in honor of this year’s National Farmer’s Week: what ELSE can we be doing to support farmers? We love farmers and hope that you do too! We’d love to hear your suggestions about how to champion them best, so share them on our socials!
1. Educate yourself
There’s no question that food labels can be misleading and confusing. When selecting food from grocery store aisles, it can be tempting to stop looking after you find the price (or, if you’re diligent, the nutrition information!). But you can help support farmers by doing just a little bit more. Take a few minutes to research and understand the food labels and certifications that help support farmers so that you can vote with your dollars and seek out products that fit your values. Some great starting points include Fair Trade and USDA Organic.
2. Pay farmers for their extra efforts
Farmers who go the extra mile to grow more sustainable crops by focusing on biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water conservation, organic and regenerative farming deserve to get paid. As mentioned above, consumers can help by educating themselves about certifications and quantifiable data in these realms and then follow through by paying more for these premium products that contribute to a more sustainable food industry for all.
3. Research individual farms and buy their brands
Sometimes you can buy products directly from farmers that engage in practices that align with your values. Nowadays, many of them understand this and offer CSA’s – Community Supported Agriculture, where consumers can receive regular locally-grown farm products on a subscription basis that can be shipped or picked up at the farm. Research what is available in your area and start shopping. Otherwise, you can research these farms, see if information is available about which brands they supply to and then support THOSE brands. For example, did you know that our partner A-Frame Farm in Minnesota, provides ingredients to mainstream brands like Lil Bucks and Simple Mills?
4. Think of farmers when you dine out
Thankfully, the farm-to-table trend has caught on, and many restaurants love to support local farms by purchasing their produce, meat and dairy products to serve in their establishments. Before you select a restaurant, do some research to see if you can find out how they source their food. Luckily we discovered that along with searches for “farm market near me,” searches for “farm to restaurant table near me” ranked very well on search engines as well.
5. Make farmers famous
Though most people don’t consider farmers celebrities, we think they should. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, small farmers produce a third of the world’s food. We could all be doing a little bit more to bring awareness to the heroes behind our food, so if you know a local farmer, tell all your friends and maybe even post about that farm on social media. We are all rooting for a new trend of famous farmers.So the next time you find yourself searching “farm market near me,” congratulations! You are already taking one extraordinary step to support farmers. But please consider adding another from our list above as well! Farmers deserve all the support we can provide. If you are a food brand looking to support farmers, please contact Merge Impact so we can help you source your products from the farmers working hard to produce responsible, sustainable ingredients.