by Luke Rider
Bethlehem and all of the Lehigh Valley have faced an issue many don’t see. This city is in desperate need of more locally built, non-chain, and affordable farmers markets. While many people would turn their head at the idea of farmers markets being an important issue in the Lehigh Valley, it must be tackled as soon as possible. The overall benefits of more farmers markets around the city of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley as a whole can economically and physically serve all surrounding communities in a constructive way.
First of all it would support local farmers (delete) without a doubt. Farmers markets give us the opportunity to preserve the local farm lands, stopping the erosion of green space and preserve greater CO2 sequestration and our cultural heritage – these have been replaced more and more rapidly with large warehouses and McMansions. The produce local farmers would provide would greatly help those in search of fresh, healthier produce, and the personal pride a farmers market would give to farmers and consumers would be rewarding to us all. We mustn’t discount the power of simply feeling good about our food. The lower and middle class would benefit from the farmers market, helping us get off sugary, fatty, and processed foods—shown to be the cause of heart disease, diabetes, and ill health. Providing local, cheap and reliable sources of nutritious foods (delete) tackles the issue of obesity head on and helps us all. (Delete)
While the public takeaway and reaction to the this initiative would be certainly positive, not everyone would be on board with farmers markets popping up around the Lehigh Valley. Chain store owners would fear losing business to the often more affordable farmers markets (delete). Another group of people who would possibly oppose the idea is tax payers who might not believe in the importance of new farmers markets and supporting their creation through Civic Funds. (delete) But both problems have obvious solutions. Not only will the construction of the new markets not affect taxpayers greatly, but they can be sources of income in the long run. (Delete). The construction and the farmers markets themselves will bring the community together –so very much needed – especially if they include Latin based foods as well as Anglo. (delete)
A new farmers market, or a bevy of them, will help our City without a doubt. Let’s make it happen.
Luke is a student at Liberty High School.