Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 6:08 PM on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farmers' Market There's more than one way to view today's economic events


It seems like there is nothing much positive in the news these days about the economy. Call my glasses rose-colored, but I would say there are more ways to look at the economy than through the lens of the Dow Jones.

Look at farmers' markets, for instance. According to the latest survey from the USDA, there are 7,175 markets across the country. That's up 17 percent from last year.

"More farmers' markets mean more local economic stimulation to more communities which, in turn, mean more job opportunities. More farmers' markets mean more access to fresh, healthy and local food," said USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

I couldn't say it better. Keep that money local. Watching the Homer Farmers' Market grow is an antidote to all the negative economic news.

Anyone giving advice on investments would tell you to diversify, diversify, diversify. That's what the economy of the Farmers' Market embodies. Some farmers diversify their businesses with CSA orders or restaurant sales. You can diversify your pantry with that new pickle recipe you wanted to try. Just standing at the Market you can see the diversity in each stall. Have you seen the honey selling by the knit hats at Cynthia's booth?

But you have to have cash to buy, right? Actually, the Market is even diverse in that aspect of economics. This season, hundreds of dollars worth of Market coins purchased with debit cards have circulated around the Market. And now that the Market can accept the Quest card, even more people have access to that local food Secretary Merrigan was referring to.

Another aspect of the Market is actually set up for those who can't afford to be there at all. The Harvest of Hope booth that collects donations for the Homer Community Food Pantry means that no food goes to waste, that all levels of our community can have access to some of our local produce, that no one is forgotten in a local, caring economy.

So come on down to the Homer Farmers' Market on Ocean Drive Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and participate in a vibrant economy.

Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers' Market's biggest fan. She can be reached at kyra@ sustainablehomer.org.