Jan 27, 2017
Fruits of Thy Labor
In neighborhoods across the Islands, farmers markets are revolutionizing the way we shop, eat, and cook.
As more of us choose to do our shopping at Honolulu farmers markets, our surrounding communities reap the many benefits, which include fresher food, a more sustainable agriculture system, and a stronger local economy. Best of all, it couldn't be easier as an array of Hawai'i farmers markets have taken root throughout the state.
But just how important is it to shop local and support Honolulu farmers markets? On an economic level, the implications are huge. One study found that if you spend $100 at a farmers market, $62 goes back into the local economy and $99 out of $100 stays in the state. On the flipside, if you were to spend $100 at a big-box supermarket, only $25 stays in your local economy.
Historically, artisan restaurateurs and progressive chefs were responsible for sparking our collective interest in eating locally sourced and grown food. The efforts of these farm-to-table pioneers (which include local celebrity chef Peter Merriman, who's set to open his namesake restaurant in Anaha at Ward Village) to shed light on the positive—and delicious—effects of shopping local has lead to a country-wide phenomenon. In fact, a recent study from NPR found that there were 8,268 farmers markets operating in 2014, up 180 percent since 2006. The report went on to state that farmers markets in densely populated cities, offers shoppers a myriad of new fruits and vegetables to taste that they couldn't find anywhere else. Whether you're shopping at the Kaka'ako Farmers Market or another O'ahu farmers' market, chances are you'll find something completely unique and interesting on offer.
The positive effects that shopping at farmers markets can have extend well beyond tasting new foods and supporting your local economy. There's another aspect at play that's vital our city's overall health: community building. Not only will you know the name and backstory behind where your bananas, papayas, eggs, and vegetables are grown, but you'll know exactly who grew them, where they came from, and how they were grown. You might make even make a new friend in the process!
To boot, it's no secret that Hawai'i relies heavily on the mainland for an array of imports, including energy and food. However, recent initiatives from lawmakers have stipulated that the state take necessary actions to become more self-reliant. In September of last year, Governor David Ige announced a bold and ambitious directive to double Hawai'i's food production by 2020, meaning that the future of O'ahu farmers markets is on solid footing, and the state is in a better position to feed itself in the wake of a disaster.
Whether you're interested in supporting the state's economy, building new friendships with local farmers, or simply yearning to eat healthier and try new foods, shopping at O'ahu farmers' markets is a sure-fire way to do some good. Don't forget to support our very own weekly Kaka'ako Farmers Market!
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