Small specialty farms producing high-quality local produce - much of it organic or pesticide-free - are showing up in U.S. cities across the country. Currently, there are over 8,000 markets nationwide. Farmers and vendors are selling just about every type of produce that can be grown almost anywhere within a day’s drive no matter where you live.
What has caused the agricultural shift and why now? The answer lies in the once-underground movement of urban agriculture and indoor farming. Controlled environment agriculture production has now gained a foothold in the industry, and is projected to be the alternative to traditional farming.
How will this shift affect farmers markets and their ability to reach consumers?
Increase in Metropolitan Markets
Farmers markets are not just welcomed in major metropolitan areas; they are desperately needed.
The Green City Market in Chicago, for example, utilized controlled environmental agriculture to provide fresh produce and other products for consumers all year long, putting an end to seasonal growing. Residents no longer have to wait until March to purchase fresh produce. Like, Copley Square Market in Boston. The market offers a huge selection of produce as well as organically made sweets.
Portland Farmers Market uses its multiple locations to partner with over 200 local vendors and food trucks. Much of the food they provide for vendors and customers come directly from urban farms inside the city.
Markets Are Moving Indoors
There’s nothing new about indoor farmers markets. The concept has been around since the 1850s in America. What is new, however, is why the markets are moving indoors and how growers are utilizing framing technology such as hydroponics and LED lighting to produce crops from inside the marketplace.
One of the opportunities that market owners are now exploring is integrating indoor farms into the markets. While combining the two into a single setting presents economic, property, and mass-production challenges, it may also solve other issues.
First, some farmers markets may have limited access to urban farms or indoor agricultural facilities. They’re still purchasing produce from soil-based traditional farms. Second, markets in major metropolitan areas can create a self-sustaining agricultural model that offers every stage of growing produce from seed to sale. Third, farmers can grow and sell products throughout the year without outsourcing growers hundreds of miles away.
Eliminates the Supply Chain
With more urban and indoor farms showing up in metropolitan areas, farmers markets now have quicker access to produce with fewer steps in the supply chain. This creates a win-win business relationship between both market owners and growers.
Markets can bypass the numerous steps and conditions under which they secure produce such as soil preparation, seasonal availability, harvesting, storage, processing, packaging, and delivery. The market can form a business partnership with a nearby urban farm to purchase fruits and vegetables on demand, through every season.
By eliminating the supply chain, the market can save money in processing, storage, and distribution costs and the urban farmer doesn’t have to compete with the national market. Consumers may benefit from purchasing food at lower prices.
LED Lighting for Indoor Vertical Farming
Are you looking for lighting solutions for your urban or indoor farm? GrowFilm™ offers LED lighting panels for growing fruits and vegetables in controlled environment agriculture settings. We can customize our panels to suit your farming specifications.
To find out more about our LED grow lights, call us at 952-944-9863, or you can message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.