The Bethlehem Rose Garden plays an important role in the food security of Bethlehem. As Bethlehem’s urban population continues to grow due to new developments in housing, fresh, local food sources like the market will ensure the healthy farm-to-table diet for residents who don’t want to simply reheat food from a grocery store or take-out nor do they want to purchase produce that was trucked in from Reading.
During the pandemic, some of our produce vendors had no other market in which to sell their goods. One vendor tells us that he lived over the winter season thanks to what he had sold at the market. Thanks to the RGFM, he was able to avoid bankruptcy and the possible sale of his farm to another warehouse. According to a recent survey done by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, our fresh food supply system is in jeopardy and 30 to 40% of small, independent farmers–these are the guys behind the healthy, local farm-to-table movement- will face bankruptcy in the next few years without intervention.
While some of the large commercial meat-packing businesses have had health or sanitary outbreaks and were shut-down, the BRGFM has sold only beef, pork and chicken that is humanely raised, without hormones, and is either butchered on the farm or in a small local plant.
You can help these small, independent farms–shop at you local farmers’ markets. Bethlehem has three:
- Saturdays: the Rose Garden Market
- Fridays: the Greenway
- Thursdays: Lehigh University