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Where have all the Parisian farmers gone?

Paris Paysanne is a blog and soon-to-be book that's renewing interest in the culinary capital's declining marchés en plein air and local farmers.

As so many Americans seem to be learning after years of shopping at big-box industrial supermarkets, open-air food markets are more than just a place to buy the week’s groceries. They serve as a hub of activity and a way to invest in one's community by supporting local farmers. When you visit or live in a place that’s not where you’re from, markets can also be instructive: they can teach you about the value that a city puts on shopping for, preparing, and most importantly, enjoying food.

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Better Health for Food Deserts: Are Mobile Farmers Markets the Answer?

Farmers markets on wheels may just be the new trend to solve the lack of nutritious, fresh food in food deserts around the nation.

An innovative way to tackle the obesity epidemic comes on four wheels, as mobile farmers' markets are working to solve the lack of nutritious, fresh food in food deserts around the nation.

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We need to talk about local food. Not Monsanto, lopsided subsidies, or food miles. I don't want to talk about veganism, haterade, or Portlandia either. I want to address the four most basic problems faced by farmers every day so we can all chip in and make an effort to solve them.

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A crowd of Birmingham residents gathered at a community college parking lot in 2011 to welcome a new sight to the neighborhood: fresh fruits and vegetables for sale. While the mayor and other local leaders delivered speeches, shoppers browsed tables piled high with collard greens, okra, peaches, green beans, melons—produce grown less than 100 miles away but seldom seen in local food stores.
This volunteer-led Southwest Fresh Market is part of an ambitious plan initiated by REV Birmingham, a nonprofit working with local government, business, and community partners to find solutions to a common challenge: how to connect urban, often low-income residents with small farmers looking to boost sales. Making the link is a “win-win,” says Andy Williams, one of the growers at the Southwest Fresh Market. “The farmer gets a guaranteed base of consumers, and the neighborhood gets good food and local jobs. Right now it’s a missed opportunity.”
Birmingham has seen grocery stores shut their doors in recent decades, as big box retailers on the outskirts of the city have become the norm. Today, many of the city’s food stores are restaurants and small corner stores that mostly sell packaged, frozen, and prepared foods. A recent survey found that more than 40 percent of Birmingham residents live in areas defined as “food deserts,” neighborhoods with extremely limited access to grocery stores selling healthy food.

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In Washington, DC, Doctor's Add Vegetable Prescriptions to Anti-Obesity Arsenal

Washington, DC's taking a page from other cities' book with a new prescription program for fruits and vegetables.

There are plenty of cities trying to tackle obesity with punitive measures, by banning sodas or ditching vending machines. A new program in Washington, DC is taking an opposite approach, encouraging healthy eating not by preventing people from eating poorly but by subsidizing healthy foods.

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Watch Your Mouth: What Should Food Stamps Subsidize? Should Food Stamps Pay For Junk Food?

The federal food stamp program is about alleviating poverty, not discouraging obesity, so farmers' markets or fatty snacks are both fair game.


Correction appended

In the spring of 1961, Alderson Muncy, a miner from West Virginia, traveled 22 miles to a grocery store where the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture awaited his arrival with a television crew and $95 in food stamps. The food allowance would need to cover meals for the jobless man, his wife, and their 13 children for a month. As Muncy loaded up his Jeep for the trip home, The New York Times reported that he had a shopping cart full of groceries “prominently including vanilla wafers and two boxes of cake mix.”

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