Shopping at our local Farmers Market is a great way to directly support our community of farmers and artisans, and we can do so without using any paper or plastic! Because I work for a natural foods store, I get a lot of culled produce for free as well as a discount on anything that I purchase in the store. For this reason, I only buy a few things at the Farmers Market, like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cauliflower, because it's the only place I can get them package free. If I didn't work for a grocery store, I would definitely be doing most of my shopping at the Farmers Market, as it gives money directly to the farms, helps me eat in season, and is a great way to connect with the amazing people who are growing my food (I get to meet my farmers through work also, and I do buy local and organic fruits and veggies from my store!)
What We Can Do:
- Bring our own cloth bags for produce, fruit, and anything else that requires a bag
- Bring our own glass mason jars for berries, coffee, and anything else that requires a jar
- Ask the farmers if they can reuse twist ties, rubber bands, berry baskets (paper and plastic), as opposed to taking them home
- Have fun! Take a friend and explore all the lovely stands your Farmers Market has to offer.
- Be respectful. Farmers work incredibly hard and the market is one of the places where they can set their own prices. It's not considerate to haggle; however, if you're a consistent customer, you will probably get a deal at some point. Or some vendors might just give you a deal on their own accord. Remember to carry cash with you. Some markets do accept credit/debit cards and SNAP; you just have to ask.
The Benefits Of Supporting Your Farmers Market:
Transferring berries to my glass mason jars, so the farmers can reuse the baskets!
- Supporting small local business owners and farmers helps them stay afloat and be successful. Plus, keeping money in our local communities is what it's all about!
- When we choose local, we reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Most food is trucked all over the country by carbon emitting diesel trucks. Local food means a smaller carbon footprint-- the less resources used, the better!
- Fresh Fresh Fresh! Everything tastes so delicious!
- Connecting with our community of like minded people is always a win win!
- It's outside -- not a bad way to get your daily vitamin D.
- Goods are affordable. It would cost way more if you got them at the store.
- You may learn how to cook something differently. Farmers have excellent tips on the perfect way to prepare their produce offerings.
- Some vendors have been willing to make zero-waste accommodations for me, which is so nice! There is a pasta vendor that makes delicious ravioli, but they come packaged in plastic. I told him I was plastic free, and the next time I saw him, he gave me two glass jars filled with ravioli! I couldn't believe it--it was the sweetest thing! So, if there's something you want to buy, but it's packaged in plastic, don't be afraid to ask to work something out.
If you've never been to a Farmers Market, I encourage you to check one out! Most Markets have a website which features their vendors, hours, address, and more!
Can't get to the Farmers Market? Don't have a Farmers Market in your area? Look into joining a CSA.
What Is A CSA?
CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it's another way to eat organic, local, and in season while supporting your hard working farmers! How it works: CSA's will vary from place to place, but the general idea is this: You buy a share of vegetables and maybe other food products that are delivered weekly or bi-weekly. Most people sign up with a farm for their growing season, and pay for their share upfront or agree on a payment plan --this will depend on which CSA you're joining. CSA's are a wonderful way to really get to know the food you're eating and also the people who are growing it. Most CSA's also have volunteer opportunities--how cool is that?!