The history of farmers markets in Central Texas is a story of resilience and progress. In the late 1970s, agricultural markets had all but disappeared from U. S. highways.
But then, a fairground in Central Texas provided the perfect opportunity for the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) to be founded, marking the beginning of a new era for farmers markets in the region. The SFC was determined to make sure that farmers had the support they needed to keep their crops irrigated, feed their animals, and invest in equipment such as high tunnels to protect their products. This would ensure that they could continue to provide healthy local food to the community. By eliminating middlemen, farmers markets also allowed farmers to keep all profits earned in the markets. The SFC also partnered with Texas WIC to distribute Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons to mothers who met WIC requirements.
This was the first SNAP incentive program in the state of Texas. Shopping at farmers markets also stimulated local economies, as it supported local people and businesses instead of large agro-businesses and transgenic food conglomerates. Research has shown that farmers markets can have a positive impact on consumer shopping habits while teaching them about the importance of local and sustainable food. Behind every successful farmer's market is a dedicated team working hard to make it thrive. Farmers markets are invaluable educational sites and a bridge between urban and rural communities, as they foster direct relationships between community members and farmers. Today, thanks to the efforts of the SFC and other organizations, farmers markets are ubiquitous in Central Texas.
They are an example of direct marketing that benefits vendors and businesses close to agricultural markets alike. As extreme weather conditions become more frequent, farmers markets are more important than ever for creating a fairer and more sustainable food system.