Summer is upon us and we hope that you are enjoying the warm weather! This is the perfect time to spend a sunny Saturday morning at your local farmer’s market. Anyone who’s been to a farmer’s market in their community knows the value of being able to buy fresh, locally grown produce from a nearby farm or garden, rather than having to buy fruits and vegetables that have been shipped across the country or grown on industrial farms.
Many of CREATE!’s partner communities would have never thought they’d be growing and selling their own produce for the local market. In Senegal, vegetables had to be bought from distant regions and the options were limited. Women would often take a donkey cart, ride on the back of a motorcycle, or walk to the weekly markets to buy produce for their families. The cost in both time and money resulted in fewer trips to get fresh food. Amy Taye, a mother supporting a family of six in Mboss explains, “Before we had a community garden, I used to go to Gossas on foot. We didn’t eat vegetables frequently because it was very expensive.”
Supporting Families and Neighbors
Today, however, families in CREATE!’s partner communities are eating produce from their own gardens and selling the extra vegetables to neighboring villages so everyone can enjoy the benefits of fresh produce. “My children didn’t like the vegetables I bought in the market,” Amy tells us. “But now they like the vegetables in the garden because they say it is sweet.”
Using organic agriculture techniques, women in CREATE!’s partner communities grow a range of fruits and vegetables and bring this diversity to their local markets. In an area where cash crops are popular to grow, growing a variety of vegetables can help improve the soil and provide more nutrition to people’s diets! “For fertilizing our vegetables, (CREATE!’s) technicians teach us to use manure from our livestock. This way, vegetable consumption can improve our health because there is no chemical product,” Amy describes. This is one of the many reasons that Mboss and other CREATE! partner communities have success with their produce sales in the weekly markets.
Here are a few reasons to shop locally:
• Fewer pesticides/ chemicals: Our partner communities use organic pesticides and many people have noted that their vegetables have a longer shelf life now.
• Better for the environment: Much of the food in rural Senegal’s weekly markets is imported from distant regions. By selling more locally sourced produce instead, people are reducing the amount of transportation involved that contributes to negatively impacting our environment!
• Supporting local artisans and make local connections: Setting up shop at the weekly market gives people a chance to meet and support their neighbors in the area. Farmer’s can share tips with each other and pass on information about different organic agriculture techniques. Our partner communities also provide a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables at the market that not only improve the dietary diversity of their families but also neighboring villages.
From the CREATE! Team:
When you shop please be considerate of others by wearing your mask and washing your hands. Thank you for supporting your local farmers! Read into more safety guidelines here.