Whether you're staying at school or heading back home, summer is a time to catch up with friends, make some dough or just to straight up relax. I'm always looking for cool things to do over the summer. No matter where you're located, there's probably a farmer's market near you. Visiting a farmer's market is a great way to spend a summer day. You can get great deals on produce and other delicious products. What many people don't know is that farmer's markets have a huge impact on the local community. I interned at Moreland Farmers Market in Portland, Oregon, last summer and learned all the cool things farmer's markets offer. Here are some reasons why you should shop by one this summer season:

1. Find Fresh Food

Does the produce section look depressing sometimes at the grocery store? Farmer's markets are a colorful and #instaworthy array of the most in-season fruits and vegetables. Farmers, more often than not, pick the produce early that morning, load it up in their trucks and bring it straight to the market. The smells of ripe fruit are intoxicating as you stroll down the aisles. I bet there are also some local baked goods, honey, pickled vegetables and cheese at your local market. The best part about the whole arrangement is that you are buying directly from the person who made it - which takes out the middleman and gives you a better price! 

strawberry, sweet, berry
Megan Mueller

2. Support Your Local Economy

In a world of mass produced food, small family farmers can use all the support they can get. Farmers get a much larger profit margin from their sales through farmer's markets than large grocery stores. Also, many farmer's market farmers use organic practices and are stewards of their land. So, by supporting these markets, you are supporting people who are making a positive impact on the environment. It's a win-win.

swiss chard, cabbage, chard, rhubarb, vegetable, pasture
Megan Mueller

3. Farmer's Do Good In Your Community

Farmer's markets are a place for the community to gather. There is often live music and activities for the little ones. They really are just cool places to hang out. Besides serving as a community gathering place, there are plenty of other programs that farmer's markets provide. Many markets serve people who use EBT cards or food stamps. The farmer's market I interned at provided a match of up to $10 to the money that people took out on their food stamps. Programs like these give low income families access to fresh and healthy food. Farmer's markets also practice outreach to low-income senior citizens that lack access to fresh food. Many farmer's markets also provide youth with educational programs about healthy eating and agriculture. 

juice, strawberry, apple
Megan Mueller

Farmer's markets are a win-win-win. You benefit by getting some super fresh food at a decent price, but your purchase has a much deeper impact than filling your own stomach. You support organizations that are deeply rooted in their communities and provide fresh food for those who need it most. You also support family farmers - some of which have been farming the same land for three generations or more. Your purchase in a way makes a rebellious stand against our current food system that supports big corporations and cheap, processed foods that are bad for our health, community and earth. So get on out there and explore your local marketplace! And don't forget some reusable bags.

pasture, vegetable, carrot
Megan Mueller