Do you shop at a farmers’ market? Have you ever thought about why you do?

Most people I talked to never did. And honestly, neither did I. So I took a little trip to the Columbia University Farmers’ Market on Broadway between 114th and 116th street where they compost food, recycle textiles and sell local fare. I straight up just asked strangers on the street why they shopped there, or why they didn’t. Here’s what happened…

A ton of the people who shop at the farmers’ market like the face-to-face interaction with farmers.

Other people decided the food was fresher, healthier or better tasting.

And some were under the impression shopping there was better for the earth, the workers and the animals.

The thing is, not all that stuff is true—it’s just what people assume. The mission of the Green Market in New York City, the organization behind the farmers’ markets, is to promote local farmers and their produce. The only guarantee is that the farmers’ markets contain locally sourced produce. That’s it.

If you want to know the rest of the important information (like if their produce is organic) you need to discover it for yourself.

It turns out even the organic label isn’t totally upfront. Some farmers who practice organic farming can’t afford advertising it to people.

In grocery stores, organic foods are usually shipped in from California, which takes a toll on energy resources and the environment.

Your best bet for actually finding food that is organic is to ask the individual farmer about their practices.

A farmer I spoke to recommended buying local and organic food. If that was unavailable, he recommended going for purely local food. And finally, if that too was unavailable, he recommended buying purely organic.

What I learned through all of this is that it’s worth thinking about. The knowledge of how your food got to your plate gives you the power to support the farm practices you believe in.

With great power comes great responsibility y’all.

Want to learn more about the farmers’ market?: