We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Writing in the Huffington Post about National Farmers Market Week, Elliott Negin of the Union of Concerned Scientists harkens back to the late 1990s, just before FreshFarm Markets started the first producer-only farmers market in D.C.

When I relocated to D.C. from New York, I had no idea I was moving to a food desert. Although Dupont Circle wasn’t poor by any means, we had limited access to healthy, fresh food. There was one small supermarket we called the “Soviet” Safeway because there were usually long lines and nothing on the shelves. The produce there was pitiful: The tomatoes, picked green and reddened with ethylene gas, could break your teeth.

FreshFarm arrived in 1997 and it started a chain reaction: there are now some 40 other farmers markets within 10 miles of the original site in Dupont Circle. Farmers markets are booming nationwide despite “relatively little support from the federal government,” the article notes. Negin offers some thoughts on how the government can do a better job. His organization, in fact, has issued a full report on the subject. Read more here.

Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license