We missed getting this post up in time for Earth Day, but then we think Earth Day should be every day, so that makes us right on time!
We all want to be environmentally friendly, but we also know that there are challenges. We are sharing this post with you to show how the Market can play a role in your environmental goals.
DID YOU KNOW?
Recently, the NGFM made a policy to eliminate styrofoam take out containers? This is not as easy as it sounds, there are a few reasons why a vendor can’t just switch overnight. We want you to know that we are trying and so are our vendors. Our vendors take pride in what they offer you. They want you to have the best quality product but they also realize that many patrons are budget conscious. Switching to environmentally sound containers can be cost prohibitive. Compostable containers can add up to $1 or more per piece depending on material costs and shipping. While some guests can easily and happily absorb this increase, there are other patrons that may find this difficult. Then there’s the matter of finding a container that will hold up to the food that gets placed in them. Many of our vendors offer liquid or “saucy” foods and we know you would like to not have leaks. We have given our vendors some time to adjust but by the end of May you will see that most of them will have switched over to something more environmentally friendly.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
BRING YOUR OWN
You can help! Bring in your own containers, cutlery and coffee mugs from home. Keep a set in the car in one of your reusable bags in case you make an unexpected trip in. That way, you’re always prepared! Our vendors will happily fill your own reusable dishes. This will help lessen the amount of overall trash that makes its way into the landfill.
BUY RE-USABLE ITEMS
We have a number of environmentally friendly items that are available for purchase from the Market. Better yet, they are locally made, which in itself lowers your carbon footprint. More on that later.
We have a number of reusable shopping bags at the Market available from various vendors at various price points They are made from durable materials and will last you a long time and they are also fashionable and attractive, making them perfect for a multitude of uses. Here are just a few examples:
We are thrilled to share with you for the very first time, these amazing produce bags from Quilted Chaos. Made from a breathable poly mesh, these will hold your produce and make it easy to transport. Charlotte will have these available in two sizes, purchase in a set or on their own and reuse! Fully machine washable.
PLASTIC WRAP ALTERNATIVE
We are happy to welcome a new vendor to the Market this season! Beezy Wraps is a plastic wrap alternative. Made from cotton cloth, honey and tree resin, these wraps can be used on just about anything! If they get a little soiled, just give them a rinse under cold water and you can continue to use them. Unlike plastic wrap, when they reach the end of their long life cycle, these will completely break down.
These items are just the start! Did you know that Lismore Sheep Farm carries wool dryer balls and pillows filled with wool? Completely natural filling that will break down after its lifespan and more hygienic too. The Natural Edge has laundry alternatives and there are many natural soaps and more! There are lots of environmentally better choices to be found at the Market to help reduce waste and environmental impact.
SHOP AT THE MARKET
The single biggest thing you can do to make a positive impact on the environment is to shop at the Market. And if you are visiting somewhere else, visit their Farmers Market. SHOP LOCAL!
How does simply shopping at the Market help the environment?
Well, let us tell you!
All the products at the Market are locally grown or made. All the produce, honey, eggs, meats and lobster are grown, raised and fished locally. Items are not shipped from overseas or trucked across the country, they are grown or made right here! That means a reduction in your carbon footprint.
As you can see illustrated in the diagram I used above, there are many more steps used when purchasing a product that is not locally produced. There is more packaging, much of the food that travels is processed in one form or another to keep it fresh at the least, then there’s the increased distribution, more money spent on marketing signage etc before it reaches your table. There is increased waste created by the additional packaging, some of which cannot be recycled. And your product will be older by the time it reaches your table…in Nova Scotia, your non-locally produced food travels on average more than 4,000 km and yes, that includes the new online “farm fresh” home delivery meal programs.
When you purchase locally made products, it comes straight from the farm to Market and travels less than 100km. There is less packaging and sometimes no packaging, especially if you use one of the options available at the Market above. There is very little signage and if there is waste, most of it can be reused, recycled or composted and then that compost can be reused in the farm or your own garden. The bonus is that most of your food is picked and makes it to your table in less than 24 hrs. Many of your farmers are harvesting on Friday or even Saturday morning before market starts.
The more you can grow yourself or source from your community, the better it is environmentally and economically for the community. If you can’t get it at the Market, then buy as close to home as possible. Start at the Market, if you can’t get it there, move to products produced provincially, work your way out.
Eat seasonally when possible. Eat more of the things you can find in season instead of purchasing imported food. Preserve. Buy at the the Market in season or grow your own, then can, freeze or dehydrate. Eating seasonally and preserving are things our ancestors did before there was such a thing as national transport. Families each grew and raised what they could and then shared the bounty with the rest of the community. If they couldn’t grow or raise it, clearly they didn’t eat it.
Below is video, it’s American, but the sentiment is the same.