AUGUSTA — Small farmers markets are necessary to “change the cycle” in a food culture too reliant on large producers, a photojournalist touring the region told farmers in the city on Tuesday.

Glenn Charles, of Lubec, stopped at the farmers market at Augusta’s Mill Park in the final stretch of a 16-day bicycle and photography tour for Wholesome Wave, a Connecticut nonprofit that works to increase access to locally grown food in rural and urban areas across the country, including in Maine.

His trip started Sept. 11 in Bridgeport, Conn. After his Augusta stop, he was scheduled to go to a food bank in Unity and a dairy farm in Albion on Wednesday before ending his trip in Portland on Saturday.

Speaking at the market, Charles praised the crowd of farmers for the collaborative relationships they’ve built with the public through markets, community-supported agriculture systems and restaurants.

“It takes this type of effort to kind of change the cycle we find ourselves in,” he said.

The weekly market in Mill Park, open through mid-November, is one of two in the city and many more in the region, according to a state registry. Another market is run at the Turnpike Mall on Wednesdays and Saturdays until October’s end.

On Charles’ trip, he has toured different segments of local food systems, including farms, markets and restaurants. He has seen many types of farms, from those that sell most of what they grow at a farm stand to a woman with a greenhouse who sells small edible plants by the ounce.

Charles said “the creativeness of the small farmer to become not great growers, but intelligent marketers, creating niches in their space that help them differentiate from the others,” has impressed him most on the trip.

Wholesome Wave runs incentive programs nationwide aimed at access to farmers markets, including one that matches federal nutrition benefits to aid people in buying locally grown fruits and vegetables.

That program is available at the Mill Park market, and Walter Whitcomb, Maine’s agriculture commissioner, said the market near Augusta’s downtown is “ideally placed to meet the urban needs” of local families.

Sarah Smith, a co-owner of Grassland Organic Farm in Skowhegan and a founding partner of the Augusta market, said Charles’ appearance helps the farmers there since “any event that brings people to the market for whatever reason reminds them about all of the good qualities they’ll find.”

In the middle of Smith’s conversation with a reporter, a new relationship with a customer began.

Enigmah Archer Hirsch, of Augusta, approached Smith, asking for raw milk. She said she’s allergic to pasteurized milk and has been driving to Topsham to get it raw. She went away with a gallon and made the short drive home.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Archer Hirsch said.

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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