While people are increasingly aware of the importance of eating healthy, it isn't always easy to sustain in practice. Organic foods can be expensive and more difficult to find. Most people have to make an extra effort and invest both time and money into searching out fresh and healthy food for themselves and their families. The Yellow Green Farmers Market in Fort Lauderdale, FL tries to remove some of these barriers by hosting a year-round, covered farmers market where shoppers can find healthy, local and organic food at lower prices. Located right off I-95, the market can be reached easily by bus and rail as well.
Mark Menagh, General Manager of the Yellow Green Farmers Market says that providing space for local vendors and shoppers to meet is an essential part of helping people to integrate green living into the heart of their daily lives: "As a very large farmers market under a roof, we provide local vendors an inexpensive business location to sell directly to their community."
Green living, explains Menagh, covers a lot of things when it comes to the seemingly simple business of buying and eating food: it can mean choosing local produce and thereby reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by eliminating long distance transportation.
Taking food from farm table in the least possible time also avoids the financial and ecological costs of refrigeration: "Green is providing a location where prepared food can be made without chemicals and preservatives and purchased fresh from the oven. Green is where you can learn about fresh food by talking with the producer to learn their ways of increasing sustainability. Green is where you can find natural products from clothing to skincare made locally."
Shopping at local farmers markets means supporting the local community. Choosing what kind of food to eat is a political choice. Menagh believes that "Both organic and local have positive factors, by buying either we are encouraging the development of a more sustainable food supply. Key factors for food choices should be healthy food, fresh food, environmentally positive, and sustainable. By buying local and eating fresher more nutrient rich food, we are investing in our local agricultural infrastructure and providing incentive for farmers to grow and meet more needs in our community."
There are health benefits to eating local as well. In-season foods are fresher and healthier, since they don't need any chemicals to preserve them.
The Market is open all day on weekends, from 8 am to 4 pm. Each weekend features live musicians, balloon twisting, kiddie rides and over fifty prepared food vendors. A number of food vendors offer staggering variety of foods to eat in or take home: sushi, Thai, Indian, Bahamian, Cuban, Indonesian, Peruvian, Jamaican, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Argentinian, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan.
As well as produce, meats, cheeses and baked goods, there are crafts, clothing and accessories, jewelry, soaps and healthcare products. Special events at the Market include a petting zoo, and seasonal fun with a pumpkin patch, Easter egg hunts, photo booths for St. Patrick's day, and Santa.