Most people would be appalled to discover the actual prices farmers receive for their produce - so much so that you could wonder how they survive. Unfortunately many don't. The wholesale price many farmers achieve is often near or under the cost of production.
For perspective, the rough amount most farmers receive is about 10% of what you pay at the supermarket. So when you pick up an apple and pay 50c, that means that a farmer somewhere received around 5c to grow, pick and pack it.
If that situation makes you feel bad - and it should, both physically (because the produce is often old and chemically treated) and morally (because of the sweat shop labour that produced it), you may feel better to know that you easily have the power to change it.
One way to get healthier produce is to buy it fresher - and that is as simple as shopping locally and directly with the Farmer online, at Farm Gates, Farmer's Markets or increasingly at your local green grocer, butcher or specialist delicatessen.
And one very simple rule of thumb for health and budget is to buy seasonal - this means you are generally buying local fresher food and avoiding travel miles.
Buying locally and seasonally is pretty much guaranteed to put you 'closer' to a farmer and put more money into a farmer's pocket. Not all farmers are geared to have a Farm Gate stall or sell online, but many will sell through an intermediary like a market wholesaler or the market itself.
So the simple rules of thumb, from closest to further-est are:
Choosing to shop at these places generally means you are shopping closer to home and so your food is fresher, you are healthier and so is your local farmer's pocket. See more at Buying Local For The Environment. Image: Young Farmers