January 28, 2008

Market in the Park

Mary CampbellBy Mary Campbell
Extension Director

Market in the Park will be held in the main parking lot adjacent to Pinellas County Extension every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., beginning November 3, 2007 and running through April 19, 2008.

Farmer’s Markets are quickly gaining in popularity. As urban areas spread and local agriculture declines, small business owners have revived a traditional way to reach consumers with fresh produce and environmentally friendly products – through a local farmer’s market. At a farmer’s market you can find everything from fresh prepared foods, organic products, fresh fruits and vegetables to unique local crafts.

Green Market logoA new farmer’s market at Pinellas County Extension, the Market in the Park will offer a way for visitors to find locally made products, purchase fresh produce, support small business owners and learn about sustainable practices. Extension will combine educational programs on nutrition, horticulture and the environment, with a fun, family atmosphere at the weekly market. The goal of the market is to promote an appreciation for agriculture and its benefits to the entire community, as well as provide educational information on a variety of subjects that improves the quality of life. The wholesome and natural foods sold at a farmer’s market can promote health through better food choices.

In Pinellas County, which is the most densely populated county in Florida, local agriculture is almost non-existent. A local farmer’s market helps to bring greater awareness of the wide array of fresh produce that is available in our region. Florida has an abundance of agriculture within a short drive and local produce is both fresher and travels a shorter distance, which decreases use of fossil fuels. In the U.S., the average grocery store’s produce travels nearly 1,500 miles between the farm and your refrigerator. Even though broccoli is likely grown within 20 miles of the average American’s home, it travels an average of 1,800 miles to your table. So how does our food travel from farm field to grocery store? It’s trucked across the country, hauled in freighter ships over oceans, and flown around the world.

To keep green space close to urban areas, conserve energy, reduce climate change, and eat fresher, healthy foods, consumers should look for and buy local food products. In 2000, about 2800 farmers' markets were operating in the United States. It is estimated that more than 20,000 farmers participate in farmers' markets.

The USDA Farmers' Market webpage includes more statistics and factoids as well as information and resources on farmers' markets and a national directory of farmers' markets, go to

Also visit the FDACS site:

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