Farmers markets are growing their role as essential sources of healthy food for rich and poor

For many Americans, buying fresh local food at one of the estimated 9,000 farmers markets across the U.S. is one of summer’s pleasures. But farmers markets aren’t just nice amenities. Over the past 18 months, many have filled food supply gaps caused by COVID-19 shutdowns.

While numerous farmers markets shut down at the start of the pandemic, many soon reopened under state or local guidelines that mandated masks, social distancing and other precautions.

When grocery store supply chains were disrupted, consumer interest in local foods spiked, along with concerns about exposure to the coronavirus while shopping. Farmers market managers

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