You are here

Visit Your Community Farmers Market and Support Your Local Farmers

April 21, 2016

The State of Georgia has many locally-run, community farmers markets. The great thing about local markets is that farmers and growers can sell directly to their neighbors and see the direct impact of their work. Local farmers work hard to supply a decent living for their families and provide quality products for the people and the communities they love. Most community markets open around the end of April when the weather is beginning to warm up and outdoor activities are getting into full swing. On Spring mornings, I love riding my bike to one of the local markets and checking out some of the great creations from people right here in my neighborhood.

State Farmers Markets

Georgia’s Department of Agriculture supports Georgia farmers by allowing farmers to sell their products at local and state markets. Currently, there are nine state farmers markets all around Georgia. The Atlanta Farmers Market, located in Forest Park, is 150 acres and considered one of the largest in the world. However, you don’t have to be inside the perimeter (or ITP as us Atlantans say) to have access to locally-grown food. Travel anywhere south of the city and you are bound to find a state market near you — with markets in larger cities like Augusta and Macon, or even in small, thriving towns like Moultrie and Cordele.  

Community Farmers Markets

Although state markets are great, community farmers markets are a Georgia favorite. Community markets are typically much smaller compared to state markets and, many times, you have the opportunity to meet the makers and growers of the products. Many vendors at community markets make their products inside their homes and enjoy sharing their love for their product with you. We often think of farmers markets as a place for produce and perishables; however, a lot of local markets are home to small start-ups looking for a place to show off their creation. Some popular non-produce items at local markets are: homemade peanut butter, homemade honey, natural oils and soaps and natural juices. Vendors at these markets are just like you and me — most of them have full-time jobs, kids to raise and families to feed — which offers a personal touch to their products and brings more meaning to your purchases.

Quick History on Farming

Now that we all understand a little more about farmers markets and the people behind the products, let's take a look at the current farming situation in the United States. In 1935, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported an estimated 6.8 million farms; however, it's now estimated that only 2 million farms remain. With legalities and rules shifting to favor large businesses, small farmers can’t afford to compete anymore. It used to be that 39% of the U.S. population worked on farms. Now it is believed only about 2% live and work on farms in the United States. 

Don’t fret, though. Farmers and farm-life are not going away. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there was a 27% increase in agritourism and on-farm recreational services like hunting, fishing, hayrides and wine tours. U.S. farmers are still producing more crops than ever, we just need to continue doing our part to support local farmers. How so? Plan a trip to visit a local market this weekend!

Chelsea Stephens

About the Author

Chelsea Stephens is the Marketing & Training Lead for Digital Services Georgia. A Georgia native herself, Chelsea enjoys writing on topics that citizens and visitors of Georgia can enjoy and learn from. 

You might like...

October 4, 2017

Looking for some fun, outdoor activities this fall? North Georgia is full of great ways to spend time outside with friends and family as the weather cools off. From watching the colors of the leaves turn to taking a wine tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’re bound to find something you enjoy!

July 14, 2016

National Peach Ice Cream Day couldn’t be more appropriate for a hot day in Georgia. Find out how you can enjoy this tasty treat in the Peach State.

April 12, 2016

Last year, Georgia experienced its third outbreak of this food-related disease. Read how the Georgia Food and Feed Rapid Response Team sprang into action to find the source responsible and end the outbreaks!