December 23, 2015 | ProgressTH In Thailand, it is not hard to find a market where people are selling fruit and vegetables. Unlike in Europe or North America where the very concept of regular people selling produce and food to each other had been all but lost to big-retail, but is thankfully making a resurgence in the form of farmers' markets, in Southeast Asia, and particularly in Thailand, this has always been going on.
But a farmers' market is not exactly just a market. It's a bit more.
First, it usually involves farmers themselves selling their produce directly to customers. It is also a kind of community and even a bit of an event. Especially promoted, and usually featuring produce not normally found at regular markets, like organic or specialty products, farmers' markets help bring local people together not just to exchange products and money, but also knowledge and experience with the very people producing their food. Many markets also include workshops and performances and prepared food you can eat there as well.
The concept of farmers' markets is catching on in Thailand. In Bangkok there are several. Our favorite is Thailand Farmers' Market, and includes many producers we've worked with and gotten to know. There is also a farmers' market in Chiang Mai. But now this concept of organic farmers selling their produce directly to customers, locally, is catching on in other provinces.
Phetchaburi province, 2 hours south of Bangkok, is now organizing regular farmers' markets in the provincial capital (also called Phetchaburi). The province has a rich agricultural tradition, and because it also borders the sea, includes seafood as well. However, local organizations are trying to encourage a growing organic movement there, and the farmers' market is just one way to help raise awareness and help farmers build the networks they need to connect them with people looking for cleaner, healthier food.
At the end of the day, we often talk about building stronger, local communities. Food is one of the most essential things people depend on day-to-day. Having strong, local communities that grow and exchange with each other food at farmers' markets, that not only encourage healthy food locally, but encourage a stronger sense of community is one of the most basic, and best ways to start.
No matter where you are, you probably have a farmers' market either nearby, or farmers who could greatly benefit from one. If you don't have one nearby, start talking with people to see about making it happen. Organic farmers are great people to talk to, because they already have proven they are willing to take extra steps to change the way people grow and eat their food. Help support local farmers and help support your local farmers' market. If you don't have one, make one. You'll be glad you did!
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