Reminder: By shopping for produce at a nearby Farmers’ Market, you will be decreasing the distance that your food will have traveled to reach your plate by an average of 1,500 miles! Farmers’ markets were commonplace before the Industrial age but most were replaced in modernized cities with grocery stores and supermarkets that sell food that is usually produced, packaged, and shipped from remote places. Vegetables and fruits grown nearby are not picked as early as produce that comes from further away, so they have longer to ripen, less need to be sprayed later with artificial growth enhancers or coloring, less time to deteriorate nutritionally, and are picked at the peak of their taste quality. The farmers reap many benefits from selling to the local community and being independent from large corporations. While approximately 80% of the money that goes to large food corporations is used to pay the “middlemen”, almost all of the money that supports local farmers goes back to the farmer. Typically the majority of the money gained at farmers markets stays in the community. This money also stays in the community longer than money that supports larger corporations while potentially creating local jobs and raising incomes in the community. By supporting your local farmers, you’re keeping them in business, and are helping farmland stay in the hands of people who are likely to use sustainable methods. From the standpoint of survival and preparedness, these same farmers may become an invaluable resource during times following systemic collapse. Establishing a relationship with your local farmer will also help you (as compared to complete strangers) should you come into need following disaster or collapse… just be sure to ‘bring something to the table’, so to speak, that you can trade such as your time helping at tasks, etc. Generally, produce from the farmers’ market is always what’s in season. Except in summer, the veggies and fruits in your supermarket are almost always ‘world flyers’. Something to keep in mind about imports is that other countries don’t necessarily ban the same chemicals or drugs the U.S. does, and/or they aren’t always enforced. Ask your grocer where this or that vegetable came from. You may find that some are local while others are not. By asking the question, you will be registering your concern to the grocer, which may influence decisions later on. Buy local, know a local farmer, eat fresh, and preserve the rest. You will be supporting your community infrastructure, you will have a better idea of where to turn if you need food or would like to learn about growing food, and you will hopefully be encouraged to learn how to preserve these same foods for later.