Sep 30 2010

Farmers and Market Managers Combat Fraud at Local Markets

Feature Stories | Published 30 Sep 2010, 9:55 am | Comments Off on Farmers and Market Managers Combat Fraud at Local Markets -

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no pesticidesA recent NBC investigation into farmers markets in Southern California found serious instances of fraud. Several farmers who claimed they were selling produce they themselves had locally grown were found to be buying wholesale conventionally grown produce from as far away as Mexico and selling them at markets in and around LA. In place of farms, the investigative team of reporters found, in some cases, nothing more than dirt patches. Additionally, some claims that produce is pesticide-free or free of sprays were found to be false. The idea that eating locally grown, organic or pesticide-free food is better for our collective health and the health of the planet has caught on like wildfire. In Southern California, there are over 100 certified farmers markets that operate weekly and about 300 farmers markets overall. Concerned about the reports of fraud, I wrote to my favorite farmers market vendor, Luis Jaime, the founder of Jaime Farms. He responded saying, “the demand for farmer’s market has surpassed the number of real farmers.” The responsibility to ensure that vendors provide truthful information lies with both the nonprofit groups managing the market and the County Agricultural Commissioner.

GUESTS: Pompea Smith, the CEO and Market Manager of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), Craig Underwood, founder and owner of Underwood Farms

Find out more at www.farmernet.com and www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com.

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