A celebration of locally grown food and neighborhood relationships, the Oakley Farmers Market and the adjacent Oakley Community Garden are giving a much-needed boost to a predominantly low-wealth community that the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a food desert. But what brought them all together was as simple as a sign.
North Carolina is No. 10 on the list of states that have the most farmers markets, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2011 National Farmers Market Directory. Nationwide, there are 7,175 farmers market — a 17 percent increase from last year. That growth "is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "These outlets provide economic benefits for producers to grow their businesses and also to communities by providing increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods. In short, they are a critical ingredient in our nation's food system."
Wave goodbye to Thanksgiving and say a big hello to December holidays at area tailgate markets this week. Even though the growing season has ended, farmers markets are getting in gear for the holiday season with wreaths, trees and gifts, like candles from Osada Bee Farm at the North Asheville Tailgate Market (pictured above). Don't worry — plenty of food is available still, too.
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