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Moving past feasts

Posted by Anthony Flint  July 20, 2010 06:09 PM

Traveling on the Mass Pike the other day, on a weekend, I noticed the signs heralding a farmers market at selected service areas. Farmers markets have become important engines in urban settings, bolstering pedestrian activity and activating public spaces. Think Haymarket, but also Dewey Square. Or, the mother of all fresh-food urban markets: the Public Market in Seattle.

Seattle Public Market.jpg

But what about going 65 miles per hour and pulling over for peaches and corn? It may not be that different from the roadside farmstands that have long dotted the rural areas of the state. The notion of local food -- fresh, locally produced, secure in origin, typically organic -- is welcome wherever the setting.

The post explaining the farmers market program at MassDOT says it all: "Farmers can sell their goods as long as they do not compete with the businesses that operate within the service plazas." Don't compete with a glazed Honey Dew donut or a Big Mac? Not much of a chance of that happening, I would guess.

Farmers market.bmp

The state says the Farmers Market program has been a popular customer service for the last ten years on the 11 Massachusetts Turnpike service plazas and this year MassDOT will expand the Farmers Market program to include all 18 service plazas on state highways.

If you're left wanting more, American Farmland Trust has a rundown of America's favorite farmers markets in all 50 states. The top five for Massachusetts are: Attleboro Farms, Northampton Tuesday Market, Nantucket Farmers and Artisans Market, Bedford Farmers Market, and Amherst Farmers Market.

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About the author

Anthony Flint is a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, a think tank in Cambridge, Mass. and author of Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on More »

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