The Houston Farmers Market at Onion Creek on Saturday mornings was the first to open in Houston. Dedicated to providing a meeting place where farmer could meet consumer, the market was a landmark in the Houston Heights and the inspiration for the growth of markets around the Houston area. In 2007, Rice University invited the Houston Farmers Market to move its second location, a Tuesday afternoon market in Rice Village, to the more spacious and easily accessible parking lot adjacent to Rice Stadium on Rice campus. In August 2010 the Houston Farmers Market became a part of Rice University. The market is now known as Rice University Farmers Market.
Throughout the years, the goal of the market has remained the same: to make locally grown food available to as many consumers as possible, thereby providing a growing marketplace for local farmers and producers and a thriving meeting place for the community. Almost all of the food sold at the Rice University Farmers Market has been done so in a sustainable manner, maintaining all the nutritional benefits (not to mention the flavor) without the health and environmental costs of artificial fertilizers and pesticides.
Need more convincing as to why shopping at a farmers market is a good thing? Here are a few more reasons:
- Local food tastes better – It is fresher and has been ripened in the field rather than in a shipping container
- Local food is better for you – The shorter the time between field and table, the fewer the nutrients lost
- Local food preserves bio-diversity – Large scale farming uses a limited number of varieties of plants and animals to maximize uniformity and shelf life
- Local food has a smaller carbon footprint – Buying organic produce may seem like it would be better for the environment but it can actually have a negative impact due to the use of diesel fuels in hauling it long distances – Local farmers and ranchers travel relatively short distances to bring what they grow to you
- Local food supports local families – Local farmers sell directly to their customers, cutting out the middleman and enabling them to support themselves by what they grow – Local dollars stay within the community and have three times the impact on the local economy
(Source: “With an Ear to the Ground”, Vern Grubinger)