Matt Smith, UF/IFAS Multi-County Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Agent
In collaboration with the Hernando County Growers Association and the Brooksville Farmers Market, University of Florida IFAS/Extension Agents will be giving monthly talks on topics including farming, gardening, family nutrition, home economics, and youth development. The series kicks off on Sunday, September 22nd with an overview of the role of farmers markets in sustainable agriculture and a sustainable food system.
For consumers, farmers markets offer a community space that may also serve as the closest source of fresh, locally-grown, nutritious food. Markets like the Downtown Brooksville Farmers Market can participate in the Fresh Access Bucks program which effectively doubles SNAP benefits. For the culinary adventurers out there, farmers markets act as a hub for difficult to find produce whose short shelf life or niche audience makes them ill-suited for mass distribution. For growers, farmers markets are beneficial because they allow growers to interact directly with customers, building relationships but also allowing their business to command retail prices far above what they would see selling at commodity rates. This is important because the break-even price for small farms is higher than at large farms. Farmers markets also serve as small farm incubators, providing valuable foot traffic and notoriety for new farms. For established farms and U-Pick operations, farmers markets remain a valuable option in a marketing portfolio. U-Pick farms can sell unpicked produce and meet potential customers, and established growers whose season suffered from pests or bad weather have an opportunity to sell yields that would not have been capable of filling larger orders.
The Brooksville Farmers Market takes place on Sundays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at 615 Old Hospital Drive, Brooksville, FL 34601.
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