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Food grown locally has health, economic benefits for consumers

Lauren Ulrich, Staff Writer

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The Rolla community has been blessed by an abundance of fresh food and local splendor this summer at the downtown farmer’s market. Every Saturday, farmers, craftsmen, and local vendors gather to share their goods with the town.

The atmosphere of the farmers market is one of warmth and friendship. When people arrive, they are greeted by smiles and waves from vendors, wafts of coffee from the coffee cart, and friendly faces of the community.

“The farmers market helps support the community as a whole. The friendships that are developed, the trust in what you’re buying, knowing it’s local. I think that that builds a loving trust within a community,” Honey Vendor Yvonne Roe said.

Supporting the local community means investing in local products. Foods purchased from the farmer’s market are produced and distributed entirely within the community. This process of production has innumerable benefits for consumers compared to commercial products.

Debbie O’Shea, who has a booth of homemade relish, knows a lot about these benefits.

“When you buy food at a farmers market it’s 100 percent natural. None of us use artificial anything in our stuff. And that means it’s healthier for you… besides that you’re also giving a boost to farmers, old or young, you know that probably need just a little extra income anyway. And you identify a face with the product you’re buying, that always helps,” O’Shea said.

Buying locally grown food also lessens the detriment of agriculture on the environment. Missouri has a heavy dependence on agriculture as well as beautiful scenery and ecosystems, which can be affected by this industry. Small scale farms can help lessen these effects. Local farmer Eric Meusch explains this dynamic.

“When agriculture becomes industrial and really centralized then you end up in a situation where it can impact the environment. So by staying local it’s usually done at a scale so that some of those issues aren’t at play. The people that use the product are the same people that live in the community and care about their environment and so you avoid a lot of those problems,” Meusch said.

The Rolla community has been blessed by an abundance of fresh food and local splendor this summer at the downtown farmer’s market. Every Saturday, farmers, craftsmen, and local vendors gather to share their goods with the town.

The atmosphere of the farmers market is one of warmth and friendship. When people arrive, they are greeted by smiles and waves from vendors, wafts of coffee from the coffee cart, and friendly faces of the community.

“The farmers market helps support the community as a whole. The friendships that are developed, the trust in what you’re buying, knowing it’s local. I think that that builds a loving trust within a community,” Honey Vendor Yvonne Roe said.

Supporting the local community means investing in local products. Foods purchased from the farmer’s market are produced and distributed entirely within the community. This process of production has innumerable benefits for consumers compared to commercial products.

Debbie O’Shea, who has a booth of homemade relish, knows a lot about these benefits.

“When you buy food at a farmers market it’s 100 percent natural. None of us
use artificial anything in our stuff. And that means it’s healthier for you… besides that you’re also giving a boost to farmers, old or young, you know that probably need just a little extra income anyway. And you identify a face with the product you’re buying, that always helps,” O’Shea said.

Buying locally grown food also lessens the detriment of agriculture on the environment. Missouri has a heavy dependence on agriculture as well as beautiful scenery and ecosystems, which can be affected by this industry. Small scale farms can help lessen these effects. Local farmer Eric Meusch explains this dynamic.

“When agriculture becomes industrial and really centralized then you end up in a situation where it can impact the environment. So by staying local it’s usually done at a scale so that some of those issues aren’t at play. The people that use the product are the same people that live in the community and care about their environment and so you avoid a lot of those problems,” Meusch said.

Eric Meusch works on his family farm and sells at the farmer’s market along with his wife Pathoumma and their sons David and Owen. Eric and Pathaumma originally met in Laos while Eric was working overseas and since then they have returned to Rolla to establish their farm and grow a loving presence in the community.

“I think for David and Owen, as mom, the best thing I can give my kids is to be close to nature… understand how you grow your food, what it takes to have food on the table,” Pathoumma Meusch said.

Pathoumma has made farming a quintessential part of her family’s life and values. The Meusch family is one example of how local agriculture has had a positive effect on the community.

“If you support local, one its quality food, two it’s a friendship. You support the community, have friendship, have good food and you have a good relationship with your own kids and your own family,” Pathoumma Meusch said.

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Lauren Ulrich, Staff Writer

Hello! I’m Lauren and I’m super excited for my first year in Echo. I’m a junior this year, and I’m involved in band, debate, eco club (you all...

Food grown locally has health, economic benefits for consumers