Farmers’ markets offer many benefits, advantages

If you love cooking great food, care about eating healthy, have concerns for sustaining a vibrant local economy, and/or are worried about the environmental and social impacts of an industrialized food system, why not buy all or some of your groceries at any of the three weekly farmers’ markets in Troy?

You might not know about them, because RPI happens to be fairly disconnected from the Troy community, or you might perceive them as too expensive, as us college students typically have limited amounts of money that we’d rather spend on other things that aren’t weekly groceries. As a college student you might be too busy, not have the transportation, or spend your Friday nights staying up late. So even though you’d like to go, getting up for the farmers’ market is too much of an inconvenience. All of these reasons can be resolved. If the inconvenience is the reason you don’t or rarely go, then you will be ecstatic to learn that the Rensselaer Union might soon be the location of the next Troy farmers’ market.

Rensselaer is currently working to establish a weekly farmers’ market to take place during the week, and during the day, in the Union. This means no big hill to trek 20 minutes up and down, no early rising, and no need to skip out on Saturday afternoon activities in order to get access to healthy, local produce. Having a farmers’ market at Rensselaer is part of an initiative to establish a different market in a different place in Troy for every day of the week. There are already farmers’ markets in Troy on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but both are downtown.

Lastly, eating healthy and contributing to a healthy local economy does not have to be expensive. We are past the time when one has to spend a significant portion of their income just to eat. Most Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food nowadays, when once upon a time we had to spend much more. Shopping at the farmers’ market doesn’t change that. As somebody who both works for one of the vendors at the Saturday market and shops on a budget for a household of five people, I can tell you that it is possible to buy most of what we need for the week on a college student’s budget. It takes planning and thought, but not too much effort.

So when, hopefully, there is a weekly farmers’ market at the Rensselaer Union, I hope you will choose to support the farmers who sell there. If you don’t already, and you have the time and ability to, I hope you will check out one of the three farmers’ markets that Troy already offers. Saturday is the main market, but there is also one on Wednesday.