What if I told you that there was an opportunity for you to increase your health, stimulate the local economy, have important social interactions and save money? I’d like to think that the clear majority of us would choose to participate!
If you’ve driven by the parking lot in between Broadway Middle School and the Seaside Visitors Bureau adjacent to Highway 101, you have probably observed the blossoming Seaside Farmer’s Market. The market, a program of the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District, is in its fourth year and has grown each season.
With the change to a new location in 2016 and an investment by SEPRD and many wonderful community partners, the market has grown tremendously and now features roughly 40 vendors with visits eclipsing 1,000 each week.
Farmers Markets offer the unique occasion to perform both selfish and altruistically with the same decision. Selfishly, shoppers get access to fresh fruits, veggies and produce that is locally, sustainably and responsibly grown and perfectly in season. Due to proximity, market vendors keep costs low for shoppers and many vendors will provide suggestions about how to enjoy your purchase.
Walking up and down the market “aisles” you have a chance to connect with the vendors, inquire about their products and get helpful tips about growing your own healthy produce for example. Those who shop at farmers markets were found to have 15-20 social interactions per visit a number far higher than that found at a grocery store.
Nobly though, that local food you buy means that you can protect the environment and reduce pollution, packaging and trash. Did you know that food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate? Head to the market and you’ll see vendors from northwest sites like Molalla, Sherwood and Grays River, Washington. You can even see produce from Clatsop County with vendors from Astoria and even Gearhart.
Purchasing food at the market not only supports these local and regional farmers though. The United States Department of Agriculture has conducted research that shows that for every $10 that is spent at a farmer’s market nearly 80 percent of that is re-spent in the community! For those that choose to shop local, your money far more often stays in the community and creates vitality here.
The Seaside Farmers Market is proud to double S.N.A.P. purchases at the market, meaning that individuals and families who qualify for this federally funded program, get twice the value that they would shopping elsewhere and at the market, they’re guaranteed healthy and locally grown food!
We’re proud of the Seaside Farmer’s Market and hope that you’ll swing by and take advantage of this local treasure.
The Seaside Farmer’s Market will continue Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. in the Broadway Middle School parking lot. The market concludes on Sept. 27.
Skyler Archibald is the Executive Director of the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District