After watching the controversial film “No Impact Man,” my friends and I were faced with new challenges- finding ways to reduce our collective waste and support less harmful methods of food production. America’s big problems lie in carbon emissions and pollution, which directly correspond to our lavish ways of living. Few other countries are as wasteful as us- in fact, Forbes.com rated the United States as the largest producer of trash, creating 236 tons of garbage annually. Recycling has curbed this a bit, but it is not enough to make a big difference. Unfortunately, this is also an international problem. Countries accumulating wealth or experiencing industrial revolution are some of the worst offenders of this, such as China and Saudi Arabia. China has almost no restraints on pollutants, and the superwealthy of oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia are significantly more wasteful than other countries. Huge problems like this prompted my roommates and I to search for personal solutions to these problems, and the first step was finding locally grown, organic food.
First we caught the bus going downtown and got off at the bus station next to the library. Luckily, the bus center is next to the street where the Farmer’s Market is being held. Total time from campus to the Market was about 15 minutes, tops.
The Market was dominated by food suppliers, and secondly, crafts and supplies for the house. At each end of the Market there were large areas devoted to two different farms with a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. We bought a bunch of veggies that we regularly eat, and found they were surprisingly quite affordable. The quality was a distinctive difference as well.
The food trucks and food tables available were quite charming to say the least; we ended up buying some delicious empanadas from a vendor that was also selling homemade pasta and pizza dough. Further along, we found other delicious options like a sushi table, a deli sandwich stand, a barbeque vendor, and more. We bought fresh-squeezed limeade from a lemonade stand and it was extremely refreshing.
There were also many goods being sold at the Market that could improve the quality of life. One man was selling “eco-friendly laundry soap”, which was, as he explained to me, made from ground-up soap berries and completely devoid of the harmful contaminants that most detergents use. He said this could reduce the effects of ocean acidification because the ingredients in his detergent are naturally based. I’m curious to see if his detergent actually works.
Another vendor I spoke with is a local bee farmer. He was selling a wide variety of honeys, flavored, pollinated, and all raw. I sampled a few of his wares before asking him what made his honey different from the ones sold in stores. He explained to me that the ones you find in stores can be imported from other countries, like China, and might not contain the same benefits that pure honey has. He also explained how pasteurizing honey takes away all the benefits one can find in natural honey. He let me sample a new kind of honey he was promoting- pollinated honey- which he claimed had pollen in it, thus aiding against natural allergies. We’ll have to see if it really works.
These vendors were a few of the diverse variety available at the Farmer’s Market. I saw it as an interesting and positive experience, and enjoyed getting affordable, delicious food, while getting to chat with locals and vendors (and pet dogs, did I mention there are tons of dogs there?)
All in all, I would definitely recommend the Farmer’s Market to anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint, or just have a good Saturday morning!