The Capital City Public Market: Buying Local Food


Every Saturday, Downtown Boise, Idaho comes alive as four blocks of 8th Street transform into the Capital City Public Market. While the Market has grown and changed a lot, it has been around since 1994. Created as a response to other open-air markets, like the Pike Street Market in Seattle, the Capital City Public Market was Boise, Idaho’s answer. The Market is full of wonderful food, vendors, and artists. The best part is that they are all local. That is what the Market is all about: providing a nurturing environment for local producers and vendors to share their wares with consumers, in a face-to-face setting.

All About Local Food

Simply put, local food in this instance is any food that has been grown or raised in the Treasure Valley area. When you buy and eat local food, you are not only supporting the local economy and food producers. You are eating food at its freshest. It does not have to be brought in from far away, and you are not eating frozen or processed food. It is all grown or raised right in your backyard (and even better for you if you have a backyard garden).

There are some great reasons why you should eat local food. As mentioned, local food is fresh. In addition, fresh food tastes great. You can probably tell the difference between restaurants that do not use fresh food, or even when you do not buy fresh food at the local grocery store. The Capital City Public Market helps cut out the intermediary. You will get the freshest food possible, all grown locally, and you will even get to meet the people that are responsible for growing and raising this food locally. It is a win-win situation.

Not only do you get fresh and great tasting food from the Market, but you are helping to directly support the local economy. The money that you spend is going directly to the local vendors and producers. Keeping money local makes for a stronger and more robust economy, and helps provide more opportunities for future vendors and producers. Supporting local food creates a robust environment where other vendors and producers can feel comfortable bringing their products to the Market. Overall, buying local creates a healthier community, in terms of both fresh foods and a thriving economy.

Another benefit of buying local foods is that it helps protect local lands, and even conserves fuel. When you buy local, you do not have to pay extra to help cover the costs of shipping and delivery. Everything is already here. Moreover, by buying local food, you are giving money to local food producers, which helps keep them in business, while keeping local lands in local hands.

Of course, this does not mean that the overall goal is to get rid of food from other areas. Instead, the goal is to offer a good balance of local foods and long-distance foods. A good balance means that there is a solid variety of foods to choose from. Of course, some foods are impossible to buy locally, especially in a land-locked area like Boise.

How You can Help

You love having fresh and local foods available, so you might be wondering what you can do to help keep fresh and local foods available in Boise. It is simple, really. While the Capital City Public Market might be the biggest open-air market in Boise, Idaho, it is not the only one. When you can, buy local at farmer’s markets, like the Capital City Public Market, Boise Farmers Market, and others. This city has strived to make local options readily available, so all you need to do is make use of them.

Beyond that, in order to support local Boise, Idaho farmers, buy foods that are Community Supported Agriculture. This distinction is important, because when you buy foods that are Community Supported Agriculture the local food producers receive all of the profits. On the contrary, when you buy food at a grocery store, the food producer might only receive less than a quarter of the profits.

You can even go one step further, or if you are unable to shop at a local farmer’s market, consider eating at restaurants that only use locally grown and raised food. There are several Boise restaurants using local foods, like Alavita, Bittercreek, and Bardenay. So check out your local farmer’s markets, look for Community Supported Agriculture, and eat at restaurants that use local foods in order to keep our local economy thriving.


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