When it comes to food, fresh and straight from the farm has always had this undeniably delectable taste and, as such, for this blog entry I chose to explore the Dufferin Grove Park farmer’s market which is just a minute’s walk away from the Dufferin station westbound platform which, for me, is a rather convenient place to go. When I visited the location, first at 3 pm then at 5 pm, it was unbelievably packed with people quite literally covering nearly every single square inch of my walking space.
It was not just one particular age group or ethnicity that were there, in fact, there was a diverse array of people ranging from people who were obviously teens (the Twilight t-shirts were a dead giveaway) to people ranging from their late to early 20s, 30s, and even 60s. There was a sense of exploration in the place since people did not just congregate in any specific area, rather, they went from stand to stand buying, tasting, and apparently enjoying themselves.
If I were to describe the entire scene, an apt description would be to call it a scene of ordered chaos since, despite the sheer amount of people crisscrossing in front of me, there was at least a sense of order due to the booths being lined up in a particular way and people did at least stand in line when it came to buying different kinds of produce.
There were a few instances where my foot was stepped on and the sheer amount of people crushing me from all sides made me feel like my personal space was violated but I guess that is to be expected given the schedule I chose to make my observations. When observing the various individuals, it became apparent that the number of people who congested the paths in between the booths was not due to a continuous buying streak (though there were quite a few people with large bundles); rather, it seemed as if people lingered in order to explore all the booths.
Based on my own experience of coming to the farmer’s market, I have always lingered for quite a while out of a sense of curiosity for the various products on sale. You see this particular market has always had a plethora of items for sale, it is not like a grocery store where there are a certain order and sterility to things; rather, everything is homemade, has a certain “personal touch” to the way in which they were made and this results in what I would describe as “a farm fresh taste” to the products which makes them far better than what I would normally find at grocery stores (KPBS, 2011).
Other people apparently had the same idea since even if they were laden down with various bags and boxes, they always seemed to go from booth to booth, exploring products, seeing the personal touches people have done, and determining which booth to come back to once they get back. Feeling rather curious, I attempted a rather simple experiment and went to a grocery store that was a few blocks away to see the difference in buying behavior between people at the farmer’s market and people at a grocery store.
During my brief period of observation at the grocery store, I never saw a person carry several bags worth of groceries and a box full of apples (I saw more than a few people do this at the farmer’s market) and gone from one grocery lane to another just to “explore”. That in itself is the main difference I saw in buying behavior when I compare what I saw in the Farmer’s market to what I saw in grocery stores, supermarkets, or specialty stores (Bullock, 2010).
People shopping at the farmer’s market, despite being burdened with heavy packages and having to deal with the sheer amount of people, the experience for them seems to more pleasant as compared to shopping at a grocery store. It is evident that their current experience is a far happier one and you can even see it on their faces with their very expressions showing that they are really enjoying the experience of shopping for food.
From this perspective, and the fact that I truly enjoyed walking around the booths eating cheese, an apple, a few sandwiches, some freshly squeezed orange juice, and a rather tasty apple pie, an experience at the farmer’s market is a truly enjoyable one and this in itself is what causes people to come back for more.
Low-Income Shoppers Thrive At City Heights Farmers Market
The YouTube video “Low-Income Shoppers Thrive at City Heights Farmers Market” shows the positive effects a local farmer’s market can have on a community. By utilizing a system that converts food stamps into credit chits to be utilized as a manner of purchasing products within the market, local low-income consumers are thus able to expand their diets to incorporate affordable and healthy choices (KPBS, 2011).
It was also shown in the video that a farmer’s market can also provide an assortment of vegetables not otherwise available at a local grocery store for ethnic Asian cuisine. Overall, the video was able to show how a farmer’s market not only benefits a local community from an economic cost perspective but it actually has a cultural benefit as well since it enables people from different ethnicities to buy vegetables that they otherwise would not have been able to purchase without paying a significantly higher cost.
It is based on this that this video showcases the positive effects a farmer’s market can have on a local community and the difference it makes for people with low incomes as well as those from varied cultural origins. In fact, the scenes shown in the video could be utilized as a way to justify the continued proliferation of farmer’s markets across Canada due to their beneficial effects on local communities.
The economic benefits of farmer’s markets
The article “The economic benefits of farmer’s markets” elaborates on the benefits such markets have on the local economy, consumers, farmers, and environment. Basically, it showcases how such markets enable farmers to have an alternate form of income while at the same time being able to interact directly with consumers (Bullock, 2010). Such markets also benefit consumers as well since it enables them to buy fresh produce at a far lower cost as compared to buying them directly from supermarkets. These combined aspects result in increased consumer patronage of farmer’s markets resulting in greater economic benefits for the local community in the form of more jobs and businesses that are created as a direct result.
Bullock, S. (2010). The economic benefits of farmers’ markets. Web.
KPBS. (2011). Low-income shoppers thrive at city heights farmers market. Web.