Farmers Markets and Community Wellness Hubs: Supporting Holistic Well-Being

By Liliana Ruiz Fischer | Posted on August 4, 2023

FMW blog Aug4 410

Happy National Farmers Market Week! August 6-12 is National Farmers Market Week, a time to recognize and celebrate the vital role farmers markets play in their communities.

NRPA proudly supports park and recreation agencies to serve as Community Wellness Hubs that advance community health across seven dimensions of well-being. Farmers markets also support all seven dimensions of well-being and bring significant value to a Community Wellness Hub. NRPA is currently leading a second cohort of agencies in our Farmers Markets in Parks and Recreation Community of Practice (CoP). We asked members of the 2022-2023 CoP how they see their markets supporting the seven dimensions of well-being. The following are some examples of how their markets support each dimension:


  • Creating multilingual marketing materials and providing interpreter assistance for vendors and patrons
  • Bringing culturally diverse food and products to the market
  • Hosting cultural programs through food and market events (i.e., Pride Month celebration, Hispanic Heritage Month dinner, etc.)
  • Encouraging vendors to support different cultures by offering kosher or halal food options


  • Supporting small businesses and new entrepreneurs as they build their businesses
  • Hosting producer-only markets to keep money within the community; supporting local foods = supporting the local economy
  •  Accepting nutrition assistance benefits like SNAP, WIC and EBT matching programs


  • Welcoming live music, food trucks and customer/vendor feedback to create a safe and fun environment for visitors
  • Providing sensory bags to help visitors regulate their emotions at the market
  • Hosting artist showcases and leading community art activities at the market
  • Offering safe spaces of intergenerational connection for producers and customers
  • Leading free yoga classes at the market
  • Creating a market vendor policy that encourages open communication and discourages gossip/negative talk


  • Hosting markets outdoors to bring community members outside and appreciate food grown in their community
  • Encouraging vendors to provide reusable packaging from renewable sources
  • Educating shoppers about what food grows in their region and the seasonality of their foods
  • Offering composting, battery and holiday light recycling for the community
  • Hosting environmental health education during market days


  • Providing cooking demonstrations, nutrition education, mobile libraries, financial literacy classes, art demonstrations and vendor-led classes on food foraging and preparation of their products
  • Creating opportunities for young farmers and vendors to learn from established vendors
  • Inviting local schools to bring educational programming such as STEM activities and demonstrations
  • Developing farmers market bingo and scavenger hunt activities to encourage visitor engagement with vendors, community organizations and educational opportunities at the market
  • Partnering to provide education from community-based organizations and community health workers at the markets


  • Leading physical activity programs like Zumba, fitness demos, yoga and park walks during the market
  • Sharing healthy recipes for the nutrient-rich fresh market produce with shoppers
  • Establishing health care partnerships to bring local clinics to the market to offer free screenings, blood drives and encourage healthy choices


  • Planning weekly concert series at the market to encourage shoppers to share dinner and entertainment with neighbors
  • Bringing people together and using the market as a meeting place for walking and running clubs
  • Promoting community events at the market for visitors to connect with other social events and programs

As one member stated, “Farmers markets grow community,” and parks and recreation is where community grows. If your agency doesn’t manage a farmers market, celebrate your local community market this week! To learn more about farmers markets in parks and recreation, visit and see how park and recreation agencies are partnering and hosting farmers markets in our Farmers Markets and Parks and Recreation Story Map.

To learn more about the benefits of farmers markets, click the infographic cards below:


Liliana Ruiz Fischer (she/her) is a program manager at NRPA.