Why buy local?

Indoor Winter Market

Shopping locally isn’t always the most convenient or cheapest way to buy groceries.

But when you buy seasonal vegetables, handmade bread, pasture-raised eggs and other goods from the 120 farmers and food makers at the Mill City Farmers Market, your neighborhood food co-op and other local retailers, you are paying for the whole cost of the product. Local, sustainable farmers and makers don’t externalize the costs onto the environment, our community’s health or poor wages and working conditions for their staff and themselves.

Shopping locally also has many other benefits and supports a healthier environment and community while providing safer, more nutritious food for you and your family! Read on to learn exactly what you are supporting when you buy local.

Why buy local?

For the environment:

  • Protects sustainable, diverse farmland from mono-cropping and development
  • Reduces the distance food travels, cutting down on fossil fuels, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions*
  • Preserves crop and livestock genetic diversity and disease resistance
  • Decreases landfill material with less food packaging and waste
  • Maintains soil integrity

* Most food items travel 1,200­–2,480 miles before they reach an average American table.

For the community:

  • Locally owned companies return more than three times as much revenue back into our local economy
  • Farmers selling locally create four times as many full-time jobs compared to those selling to nationally
  • Local farms preserve America’s rural livelihood and identity
  • Shopping local is an investment in the future of our community’s health
  • Farmers markets build spaces for community to gather, learn and grow

For the vendors:

  • Farmers and food makers selling directly to consumers keep a greater portion of their revenue
  • Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for new farmers and small businesses, allowing them to learn and test the market efficiently
  • Small businesses educate the public about their “specialty” and offer a variety of unique and multi-cultural products

For you:

  • Learn more about your food, including how and where it was grown
  • Build relationships with growers and makers to stay closer to the seasons, the land and your food
  • Find healthier, fresher and safer options for you and your family**

** Studies have shown that local produce contains up to 50 percent more vitamins and minerals.


Challenge yourself to eat locally one night a week throughout the winter!

Mill City Farmers Market’s chefs are here to inspire your #WeeklyMarketMeal throughout the frozen months with the recipe below and our recipe archive at millcityfarmersmarket.org. Mill City Farmers Market’s next winter market is 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 inside the Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St.

Ames Honey

Honey ricotta pancakes

Recipe courtesy of Mill City Farmers Market. Makes 4 large pancakes.


  • 1 cup ricotta cheese from Shepherd’s Way Farm or Cosmic Wheel Creamery
  • 3 eggs from Sunshine Harvest Farm, slightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup flour from Sunrise Flour Mill
  • 2 teaspoons honey from Ames Farm
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Butter a heavy frying pan and fry large dollops of batter over medium heat. Turn cakes once small bubbles appear.

Serve pancakes with more honey, thawed frozen berries or even chopped dried lavender or other herbs. The possibilities are endless!