Bunches of fresh greens are displayed at the first Farmers Fresh Market of the season on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Bunches of fresh greens are displayed at the first Farmers Fresh Market of the season on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Voices of the Peninsula: Support farmers markets for better food, stronger communities

Thank you for your supporting Alaska’s farmers markets and growers at the Soldotna Wednesday Market.

  • Tuesday, September 10, 2019 10:59pm
  • Opinion

The Soldotna Wednesday Market with Alaska Farmers Market Association’s mission is to develop and promote Alaska’s agricultural, horticultural, and cottage industries, providing quality produce and products to the public. The mission of the Alaska Farmers Market Association is to support and promote vibrant and sustainable farmers markets throughout Alaska.

Farmers markets have experienced a renaissance throughout the nation, and have begun to spring up all over Alaska. While our short growing season and cold climate offers many challenges to our farmers, farmers markets are thriving across Alaska. In 2005, the Division of Agriculture listed 13 markets throughout the state. In 2014, that number grew to 37, and in 2017, there were 41 — with more markets in planning stages. Farmers markets are good for farmers and good for the communities they serve.

Farmers markets provide a place where farmers can reconnect with consumers directly and capture retail dollars for their fresh, high-quality products. Farmers markets are family-friendly, community-building events that bring neighbors together, attract retail activity to surrounding businesses, create forums for civic education and involvement and provide direct access to Alaska’s agricultural bounty.

The Alaska Farmers Market Association with parent organization Cook Inletkeeper received a 2017 USDA FMPP Grant to promote connectivity and collaboration amongst Alaska’s farmers markets. The Soldotna Wednesday Market has received $1,150 from that grant to support our local market. With this funding our market invested in advertising in the newspaper.

The Soldotna Wednesday Market looks forward to working together with the Alaska Farmers Market Association and the other markets around the state to grow and improve our local farmers markets. As a vibrant and integral piece of our local community and its economy, the Soldotna Wednesday Market looks to be a consistent voice at the council in support of farmers, cottage food producers and local crafters.

Thank you for your supporting Alaska’s farmers markets and growers at the Soldotna Wednesday Market.

Why is it important to support our local farmers markets?

You create a sense of community through buying locally and cooking and eating locally grown food with friends and family.

You build a healthier lifestyle by buying, cooking and eating real food, rather than eating processed, commercially prepared foods.

You create stronger social structures by cooking and eating with family and friends.

You are promoting and protecting Alaska agriculture for our future.

You are protecting Alaska’s precious agricultural lands from development.

Why is it important to buy local food?

The produce tastes better because of our cool climate! Our cool nights make the vegetables sweeter and more delicious than anything grown in hotter climates.

The produce tastes better because it’s fresher! With vegetables grown just a few miles away, harvests can be much more recent than for produce shipped from Outside.

Your produce will stay fresh much longer after you buy it, because it is so fresh to begin with.

The transportation costs of buying local food are much lower than buying produce that has been shipped from the Lower 48. You’re conserving all kinds of energy by buying local food!

You’re supporting local farmers and ensuring that farming and local food production will remain viable in Alaska.

— Annette Villa, Soldotna Wednesday Market

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