So a little while ago I made a promise to start posting some simple steps you can take towards living a more eco-friendly lifestyle in a very attainable way. I've decided to post eight different ideas for you and make it a bit of a challenge, so we can work towards it together and hold each other accountable. I'm calling this blog series 8 Weeks to a Greener Life and a Bluer Sea, and I'm excited to kick it off with one of my favorite summertime activities: farmer's market shopping! I'm going to keep these posts brief, so you can read them over your morning coffee, absorb what you want from them, and hopefully feel inspired to get out and implement these strategies in your own life.
Quick note: I know being "green" and living an eco-friendly life is not easy, especially in this day and age. I know because I struggle with it every day. We have habits that we've grown up with, budgets to navigate, crazy advertisements and marketing schemes that we're bombarded with (how do we know what do we believe?), and sometimes, we simply don't have access to eco-friendly alternatives. But the whole point is to take that first step, start somewhere, put on your dancing shoes, however you want to think about it - just start somewhere. Start small! The planet needs us to realize these things. You can do it.
So for your first week's challenge: get out and head to a farmer's market this weekend. It's summertime here in the Northern Hemisphere, and there is literally no better time to take advantage of the fresh, local, in-season produce while supporting your neighbors. I love our local farmer's market in Kootenai County, and every time I come home for a visit, I head there to pick up some handmade body scrubs, organic sourdough bread, and whatever berries are in season. So what does farmer's market shopping do for our planet, and the health of the sea? Read on, friends.
5 Reasons to Shop at Your Local Farmer's Market
1. Good for your bod. Local, in-season food is often grown with organic farming methods and is non-GMO, and this leads to better nutrition for your body (which is a temple, remember that). Plus it just tastes better, because it hasn't been transported and refrigerated for days and coated with weird chemicals.
2. Happy planet. It's better for the environment. Fossil fuels haven't been wasted to transport the produce/products across the world or country (in the U.S., most food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate), and the smaller-scale, organic farming methods are a lot less damaging to the environment. Be good to the land, farm-to-table is the future!
3. Do good for your local economy. You're supporting your local economy by shopping at the farmer's market. The farms are a source of local jobs, so by spending your hard-earned dollar here, these producers can keep doing their magnificent job of providing customers with an alternative to mass-produced foods. It may seem more expensive at first, but get past that - how you spend your money is another way to share what you believe. Do you really want to support monoculture and industrialized farming? Use your purchasing power to better the environment.
4. Be a social little butterfly. By going to the market, you get to be social in a meaningful way! You meet the producers who are growing your food and making your products, and there's something to be said for supporting friends and familiar faces.
5. LESS PLASTIC YO! There is way less packaging waste at a farmer's market stand. Most of the time, there isn't any packaging at all! The food has been plucked at its perfect ripeness, moved a few miles to the market, and placed on display in boxes for you to select. If you bring your own bag (glue it to your butt pocket so you never forget it), this is the ultimate way to produce less waste. Plastic-free means a happy sea!
So what the heck are you waiting for - grab a basket or a canvas bag and get your booty to your local farmer's market. Skip breakfast at home so you can get yourself a locally-made brekkie burrito or some tacos - embrace the season!
And comment below! I want to hear about your farmer's market experiences. What's one new thing you've never seen before there? What's your favorite thing to buy? What's one other eco achievement you've accomplished this week?