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Farmers market provides fresh, local eats to FoCo community

Collegian | File Photo
Stacey King, owner of Lovelevel, reviews her customer’s jewelry at the Larimer County Farmers Market in Fort Collins, Colorado Sept. 5. (Tri Duong | The Collegian)

Fresh, local food can be hard to come by, especially with the sheer number of chain grocery stores popping up around the United States. The Fort Collins Farmers Market, hosted on Wednesdays until Sept. 27 and Sundays until Nov. 12, is a great way to connect with local Colorado farmers.

The Fort Collins Farmers Market, located at the intersection of Harmony Road and Lemay Avenue in the Ace Hardware parking lot, is run by the Colorado Agricultural Marketing Cooperative. Don Griffith, the market coordinator, said they offer programs for those who can’t afford the market.


“We also offer a service where people that have EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards can bring their cards in to me,” Griffith said. “I can change those into tokens, and they can shop at the market. And then the state of Colorado offers a matching $20 per day voucher program so that they also get an additional $20. It doesn’t cost them anything for the purchase of produce specifically.”

This offer is a great healthy alternative for those who rely on EBT cards with SNAP benefits, but for those who don’t qualify for that assistance, the farmers market still provides surprisingly affordable prices.

One of the most common gripes about farmers markets is how expensive they can be. Mary Garcia, a retired marketing executive and avid farmers market attendee, said that in her experience, that’s not the case.

“I feel that I get higher quality produce here, and the prices are comparable,” Garcia said. “I would rather support a small business or a small farm than a Kroger or an Albertson or a Safeway.”

Of course, there is going to be somewhat of a price difference between a farmers market and a grocery store. However, this is overshadowed by the positive impacts shopping locally can make. Jason Geib, a mushroom grower and farmer, said shopping locally has a ripple effect across the community.

“Well, I think that it gives a great source for people to know where their food comes from, and I think as a whole, it benefits the community because it keeps our money close to the community,” Geib said. “I, in turn, sell my mushrooms. I receive money from people locally, and then I turn around and I spend my money locally. Sure, from the consumer standpoint, it’s easier to go into one store and buy all of your stuff from one place. But as a whole, that takes away from families’ incomes, and there (are) a lot of businesses that have disappeared since things have been combined into giant chain stores.”

This highlights how important it is to support local businesses and how key it is to keep money circulating throughout the community. Many of the vendors at farmers markets make most of their money that way.

Micah Rich, a baker at the market, said that without farmers markets, Rich would have never had the opportunity to start their bakery. Geib echoed this opinion and said the price cuts he experiences in grocery stores and restaurants are so severe, they leave farmers markets as his main source of income.

Going to a farmers market is a rewarding experience, and the friendly atmosphere serves as a great alternative to heading to the grocery store. The food is fresher, attendees learn where their food is coming from and, most importantly, attendees support local farmers.


Reach Jack Fillweber at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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