Learn how local farmers markets help support community building and the perks available this Thursday at the Ottawa County Farmers Market when you bring a friend.

We all know how important farmers markets are to the local economy, the environment, and improving our physical health, but did you also know that they play an integral role in supporting “community”?

“Community” is a place where we feel anchored to our neighbors. A place to meet and nurture a different kind of relationship among other community members. A gathering space to renew community spirit, interact with old and new friends alike, and a location that promotes health and happiness. Let’s look at the ways farmers markets support local communities:

Farmers markets are a community event. Unlike grocery stores, which are open year-round, the farmers market season is limited to the warmer months. This turns the shopping trip into an opportunity to connect with neighbors and the community on a weekly basis.

Farmers markets often have special promotions happening each week. Whether it is a kid’s activity, live music, or cooking demonstration, the market is a place to learn and have fun with your neighbors.

It’s a chance to meet community organizations and become involved. Come to the market to meet representatives from and learn about local organizations that benefit your community. Find out how you can support these groups and what kind of services these groups provide to you and the community.

People who attend farmers market report having more social interaction with others than they would at the grocery store. The market is a great place to ask vendors about their products. It’s also a common place to meet family members, catch up with old friends, and make new connections.

And, farmers markets benefit the community by providing an opportunity to try new foods, learn about the benefits of healthy eating, and practice healthy lifestyles.

To celebrate all the wonderful ways in which farmers markets benefit the community, the Ottawa County Farmers Market invites everyone to “Bring a Friend Night” at the market this Thursday, 8/31. Bring someone with you to the market this week and you will both receive Market Cash to get free produce!

This week at the market you will see the same great fresh produce and local products you have come expect from our hard-working vendors. We will have bell peppers, chile peppers, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, okra, melons, and more. Ramer Market and Bakery of Miami will have fresh-baked breads, pies, cinnamon rolls, and cookies. Four States Honey of Vinita will have local honey and honey products. Oklahoma Native Pecan Company of Miami will be bringing cracked pecans, local jams and jellies.

Kids will be making affirmation jewelry with the help of Northeastern Tribal Health System’s MSPI (Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative) program staff. We will have live music from Ann Walser. The Animal Welfare and Adoption Agency will be manning our community table.

The Ottawa County Farmers market is every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at 225 B St NW in downtown Miami. Like our Facebook page for more information and the latest news!