Buried in the 75 messages waiting in my email inbox yesterday morning, I unearthed this bit of news about large grocery retailers staging lookalike farmers markets in select locations, regardless of the actual source of the produce being sold. It seems supermarkets have figured out that freshness, taste and traceability of food from farm to table matter to people. It also seems that supermarkets are looking to take advantage of the hard work farmers, market managers and community supporters have invested in building the modern local food movement over the past half century.
On the one hand, this development indicates the conversation about food security and sustainability is really going somewhere if the industrial food system is taking notice and capitalizing on the integrity of the term farmers market. On the other hand, this makes a whole lot of us who work in the world of local food and sustainable agriculture stinkin’ mad. Farmers markets are just that – places of commerce where farmers sell directly to the produce loving public, not big grocery store chains with big marketing budgets. Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise.