Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

MONTICELLO – Everyone is always told to “buy local.”

Now, a collective of seven farmers markets in Sullivan County are sharing ten reasons to do it – and giving out everything from free tote bags to bumper stickers as a way to reward shoppers for their support.

By combining feedback from 398 Catskills market shoppers surveyed in 2016 with the latest research, the collective hopes that each person will find at least one reason to visit their local farmers market…and spend $10. From making it easier to eat healthy (94% of market shoppers agree), to enjoying the chance to meet friendly farmers (92% of market shoppers agree), there are eight other powerful reasons to consider.

“From an economic standpoint, buying food directly from local producers keeps our dollars local. For example, farmers earn at least 90 cents on the dollar when they sell at farmers markets – but less than 17 cents when they sell to big grocery store chains. Why not keep more money in the Catskills, and help our hardworking farmers make a good living? Plus, studies show that when consumers buy local, 3.7x more money stays in the community – as opposed to a chain,” said Melinda Meddaugh, Ag and Food Systems Program Leader for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County.

Finding that a massive 98% of market shoppers believe that farmers markets are good for the local economy, the collective wants to turn belief into action by asking for each community member to pledge. To reward shoppers for their visit, the collective is giving away free tote bags, magnets, bumper stickers, jar openers and other fun prizes to anyone who makes a pledge There are 3 ways to make a pledge…

  1. AT THE MARKET Shoppers can make their pledge, spend $10, then get their free gift
  2. ONLINE www.homegrownwithheart.com/spendten Shoppers can then pick up their gift at any market listed
  3. FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/sullivancatskillsfarmersmarkets by “liking” the Spend Ten post. They can then tell the market manager they liked the post for their gift

“There’s a common misconception that farmers markets are too expensive. Unfortunately, this is the number one reason shoppers avoid the markets. This campaign is a chance to prove that’s not true! Plus, for those who receive SNAP/EBT/Food Stamps, the farmers markets in Liberty, Monticello, and Callicoon give shoppers $4 for every $10 they spend through the FreshConnect program. It’s an amazing value and a win-win for Catskills farmers – and consumers,” said Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw.

As National Farmers Market Week fast approaches (it kicks off August 7), the collective is aiming to have hundreds of pledges to “Spend Ten” – to jump start peak produce season in the Catskills.

To see the statistics for each of the ten reasons – and to make a pledge: please visit www.homegrownwithheart.com/spendten.

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