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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Year of Plenty

Is Farmers’ Market Food Really More Expensive?

One common objection I hear from folks when it comes to Farmers' Markets is that they are too expensive or at least more expensive than the grocery store. The results of a new study of vegetable prices in Iowa challenge this assumption. Here's a key summary statement of their results:

Specific findings of the research show that the mean price per pound for the local farmers’ market vegetable basket 1 is $1.25, while the mean price per pound for the non-local supermarket vegetable basket is $1.39. It should be noted that the differences in price between the local and non-local vegetable baskets were not statistically significant. Additionally, if an individual were to buy one pound of each vegetable in the vegetable market basket, the local vegetable basket would total $8.84 while its non-local supermarket counterpart would total $10.45. Local price advantages mainly stem from the competitive pricing of zucchini and summer squash at farmers’ markets. These price advantages could be due to factors such as abundant supply, seasonality, or weather.

They correctly state that more studies are needed but at least in this one snapshot of vegetable prices the farmers' market veggies were no more expensive than at the grocery store.

Year of Plenty

The Year of Plenty blog was created by Craig Goodwin in the winter of 2008 to chronicle the experiences of his family as they sought to consume everything local, used, homegrown or homemade. That journey was a wonderful introduction to people and movements in the Spokane area who are seeking the welfare of the community through local foods, farmers markets, community gardens, sustainable transportation, and more fulfilling and just patterns of consumption. In 2009 and beyond the blog will continue to report on these relationships and practices, all through the eyes of a family with young children. Craig manages the Millwood Farmers' Market, is a Master Food Preserver and Pastor at Millwood Presbyterian Church. Craig can be reached at