Not to rock anyone’s world here, but Mr. Rickert seems to be buying into the unsupported allegation that farmer’s markets are more expensive than the standard supermarket: ‘Cool’ can’t solve cost, class issues in public market debate
I have seen the “cool factor,” and I agree with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin: It ain’t cheap.
Cool is 16-ounce jars of jelly for $4.50 and $5 loaves of bread at the Saturday morning Dane County Farmers’ Market.
This might not be true: The Farmers’ Market Myth
It’s getting harder and harder to be an elitist these days.
We’re all familiar with the accepted gospel: Only well-heeled food snobs can afford the exorbitant prices charged for those attractively displayed baby greens and heirloom tomatoes at farmers’ markets, while those who can’t afford such greener-than-thou food-purchasing decisions must paw through limp broccoli, wilted lettuce, and tennis-ball tomatoes at supermarket produce departments.
It may come as a surprise that there have been virtually no formal studies to support this widely accepted contention, and the few studies that have been conducted call its veracity into question.
A report released earlier this year by Jake Robert Claro, a graduate student at Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy who did the study for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, found that prices at farmers’ markets for conventionally grown produce items were lower than they were at supermarkets. For organic items, farmers’ markets beat grocery stores every time hands down.
Second of all, I reject the implication that the public market needs to solve cost and class issues. The fact is that any single development project, legislation, or whatever, cannot solve all the class issues in America. They just can’t. I mean, what, would you say something like, “Well yeah, Verona Road needs to be upgraded but it won’t solve cost and class issues.” Ideas should be considered on their own merits, not on whether they can solve a huge overarching issues.
Don’t forget all the people that the Dane County Farmer’s Market brings to downtown Madison and the jobs and people that are supported by this economic activity. If the proposed public market can do the same thing, while serving a wide base of people, Madison should do it regardless of whether it solves all the class issues in America.
We cannot build a healthy economy on Walgreens and Wal Mart jobs*, regardless of how cheap their tomatoes are.
*Not to say that there is anything wrong with taking such a job, I’ve worked in retail too but for the overall health of the American economy, we can’t just depend on service jobs.
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