This week, the Burke Area Farmers Market joined farmers markets across the country in observing National Farmers Market Week 2023. To celebrate, we hosted The Dakota Cuban food truck, live music from Jacinta Tietgen, and a children’s activity with the Burke Public Library. We also had a photo booth contest and the one stop payment customers got to draw for prizes from our vendors.
Farmers markets like BAFM are changing the way we eat, shop, connect, and build community. Markets are not only essential to local food systems and security, but are abundant sources of food, connection, and community resilience. At BAFM, our market is designed directly in partnership with the people we serve, and we’ve built a space for farmers, bakers, crafters, shoppers, and neighbors to collaborate to meet the changing needs of our communities.
An important change we’ve made this year is to accept SNAP/EBT at the market. We so appreciate the shoppers who’ve been patient as we’ve launched this service – we plan to make it better and easier each week. Did you know when children have access to SNAP, they live longer, invest more in human capital, are more economically self-sufficient, live in better neighborhoods, and are less likely to be incarcerated? The Review of Economic Studies recently found that SNAP’s “transfer of resources to families is a highly cost-effective investment” in young children’s futures, and that cost savings from the future reduction in crime exceeds the cost of the program.
We all agree that children can learn, grow, and live better when they have proper access to nourishing foods. BAFM is proud to be a small part of increasing access in our area.
Farmers markets like ours support South Dakota’s small and diversified farms and circulate money back into our local economy. Each year tens of thousands of farmers sell directly to consumers at farmers markets nationwide, generating an estimated $2.4 billion in revenue. The 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey also noted that more than 80 percent of all direct market food sales occurred within 100 miles of the farm. At a time when many restaurant sales and other outlets for farmers are down, the income farmers receive at farmers markets is a lifeline.
Through the uncertainty and isolation of the last few years, farmers markets have served as a vital source of community connection and stability, offering fresh food and outdoor spaces to gather. While farmers markets have always been essential to our local food systems, in this era of so many changes, we recognize the ways that farmers markets are also essential tools for shaping our world. More than ever, we need places where people can come together and build resilient communities for everyone who lives here.
Thanks to every single person who has supported your local market this season and contributed to our mission of “growing healthy food, families, and communities.” We are grateful to celebrate National Farmers Market Week with every single one of you.
The Burke Area Farmers Market Board of Directors