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The Southland Farmers' Market Association seeks to preserve the many values of certified farmers’ markets. At a Southland certified farmers’ market, consumers can: Find fresh, high-quality, good-tasting and nutritious foods Choose from a wide variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables Develop a relationship with the growers of what they buy Support local agriculture Be assured that their food was grown under California health, labor and environmental regulations Save money with lower prices for higher-quality foods Learn directly from growers about the source of their food Select from a greater variety of fruits and vegetables Often select from a greater variety of organic fruits and vegetables Frequently sample products before they buy Experience a sense of shared community Have a fun, pleasant shopping experience Become aware of the seasonality of produce Share their experience at the market with friends and neighbors.
Southland’s Board of Directors is primarily composed of small farmers who actively participate in the farmers’ markets. The chief role of the Association is to safeguard the integrity of the markets by ensuring that producers only sell what they have grown. Customers are thereby assured that they are buying fresh fruits and vegetables directly from local California producers.
There are more than 360 certified farmers’ markets in California and the number continues to grow each year. In 2001, the industry accounts for $250 million in sales. This is all the more remarkable for the fact that certified farmers’ markets must be operated as a community service by a non-profit organization, local public agency or California certified growers. Southland offers assistance to markets and growers with marketing, promotions, member services, legislative advocacy and self-enforcement programs.
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