Farmers Markets have always been a fact of life for rural communities—and now they’re spreading into the urban landscape. As of September of 2018, there exist over 8,000 of these small, local markets across the nation. Perhaps their rising popularity is due to the type of produce sold there; much of it is organic and pesticide-free. Because of the ever-growing sustainability movement, this type of food is in high supply. Consumers nowadays are also interested in buying from small-scale suppliers to ensure freshness and quality, instead of purchasing produce from a larger chain.

Why the Growth in Urban Areas?

That said, besides a nationwide interest in sustainability, what factors have led to the rise of the farmer’s market in urban areas? The answer lies in innovative new technologies such as LED grow light systems and controlled environment agriculture. Essentially, this is growing food indoors and within a controlled environment, using artificial light for plants.

 

How will this new way to grow food affect the small-scale farmers who sell it?

Farmers can Move Closer to Their Markets

As stated above, demand in urban areas for fresh, organic produce is skyrocketing. With indoor farming using LED lights, farmers can move closer to major cities, where fertile, cultivable land is more scarce. They can fill the demand for fresh produce year-round, as controlled environment horticulture allows for crops to be grown no matter the weather outside.

The Customer can Come to the Farmer

In certain situations, a farmer can produce crops from inside the marketplace; that is, the customer comes directly to the building in which the controlled environment horticulture takes place and buys produce there. Though integrating indoor farms into markets presents its share of issues, It cuts down on traveling time and the expense of shipping produce. It also enables urban farmers to offer plants for sale at every stage of the growing process, from barely germinated to a fully adult plant.

The Supply Chain Shrinks

With controlled environment agriculture, farmers can grow food in areas that were previously seen as inhospitable. This eliminates the need for outsourcing, soil preparation, processing, packaging, and delivery. Less people are involved in getting the produce to the consumer, which ultimately means the product is fresher, cheaper, and nutritious.

Best LED Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

Indoor agriculture partially relies on the farmer’s ability to control the amount of light which their crop is exposed to. GrowFilm® of Eden Prairie offers an extensive line of LED lights for plants. If you are an urban farmer or are simply interested in giving controlled environment horticulture a try, call GrowFilm today at 952-944-9863, or you can send a message to partender@growfilm.ag.