THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON ORGANIC LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE.

(DrFrankLipman – Frank Lipman) In the last decade or so, hundreds if not thousands of farmers’ markets have opened their gates, creating a thriving alternative to industrially produced food and the impersonal food shopping experience. And while they haven’t totally replaced the supermarket, farmers’ markets are definitely taking a bite out of the industrial food business by offering an easy way to connect with beautiful, fresh, healthy food – and I couldn’t be more delighted.

With access to this healthy shopping option now easier than ever, here are four essential reasons why I believe farmers’ markets are fantastic for your body, mind, and spirit – and why everyone should support them.

1. Farmers’ Markets Are … Good for Your Body and the Earth

There’s a lot to like about food from the farmers’ market. For starters, it’s the farms themselves. Most are small, non-industrial, hands-on, often family-run or cooperative operations with close ties to their land. They tend to value and treat their land right, using low-impact, pesticide-free, sustainable farming methods, which are kinder and less poisonous to the soil and the food that’s grown in it. The result is produce that’s pretty close to organic, minus the official USDA certification.

When these nearly-organic foods arrive at the market, they’re fresh and unadulterated, not having been subjected to the preservative and ripening treatments used on much of the picked-too-early, trucked-in-from-2000-miles-away produce found at a typical supermarket. Even if you don’t count the smaller carbon food-print, you can’t ignore the fact that the stuff is fresh, having been picked at its nutritional peak, just a few hours before it’s in your hands – making farmers’ market produce among the healthiest you can buy.

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