By Lisa David, OHG Market Manager
Earth Day 2016
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
Our global economy provides us a world of choices and what we choose makes an impact on our health, the economy, and the condition of the planet for younger generations. Farmers markets give us the opportunity make positive impacts on the planet. We encourage you to learn how your food is grown, where it comes from, and who is growing it. Three times a day, we vote for our future with a fork, so why not make more conscious choices? Orange Home Grown Farmers & Artisans Market (OHG) offers you 11 ways to honor the Earth:
1. Buy Local. Most farmers and artisans at OHG are very local, within a 100 mile radius, and all are from California. You can find the city and county listed on their banners. People are rediscovering the benefits of buying local food. Our local economy benefits because buying directly from local family farms helps them stay in business, instead of supporting mega corporations. OHG is run by a nonprofit that’s truly a community partner that just started a seed library and will soon sprout an urban farm around the corner from the market. By buying local, your food isn’t traveling long distances by planes, trains, trucks, and ships, which all consume energy and spew pollution that contributes to climate change and unhealthy air quality. You also get the added benefits of fresher, better tasting, more nutritive food on your table!
2. Buy Organic. Don’t be shy, go ahead and ask your farmer about his/her growing practices. Ray’s Ranch is California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), and Ha’s Apples are certified organic, but many farms cannot afford the cost or the time to comply with recording keeping. However, almost all of the OHG farms we visited on our farm tours use earth friendly practices. Check out our blog posts about our visits at https://orangehomegrown.org/news/ or check out our photo binder at the info booth. Buying organic means it’s good for you, farm workers, and the planet. Get Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list for 2016: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php
3. BYOB- Bring Your Own Bags. Be part of the solution and bring your own bags or buy a sturdy canvas bag with our OHG logo for a donation of $5. Plastic bags are banned in 71 cities in CA because bags wreck havoc on wildlife and our waterways. Drawstring secured mesh bags hold loose produce like cherry tomatoes, grapes, and Brussel sprouts. Rinse out and reuse the plastic produce bags you already have until they’re just too grungy. Turn in any extra paper or plastic bags you have at the OHG info booth, and we will happily make them available to other eco-minded shoppers.
4. Bring Your Containers Back. All those berry baskets, trays, egg cartons, and glass bottles are reusable. Place them in your market basket during the week and return them next market day. A few vendors give credit on your next purchase. Recycling uses energy, so reuse whenever possible first. Save money and save the planet.
5. Eat the Tops, Plant the Bottoms. Stretch your dollars and increase your nutrition by eating your beet tops (sauté), carrot tops (pesto), and turnip tops (sauté). Farmers have recipes and ideas for all the produce they sell. If it’s not your thing, feed them to your chickens or compost them. Save the base of celery, leeks, garlic, green onion, or some sweet potato bits in shallow water. Once they sprout roots, plant them in your garden and you will have a second harvest.
6. Grow Your Own. The Potting Shed has stunning organic starts and fruit trees if you want more variety. You can use Cal Fresh/EBT (food stamps) benefits to purchase vegetable and herb plants at the market, too.
7. Compost. Farmers market produce is picked fresh, so it usually lasts a lot longer than grocery store produce (yes, stores cheat and use chlorine as a preservative). Plans change, sometimes we go out to dinner more often then we planned. If it’s salvageable, make soup, if not, try making vegetable soup stock. Way too late to salvage? Feed it your worms and make compost tea for your garden.
8. Medicinal Teas. Instead of buying chemically laden tea from India or China, make your own by steeping organic ginger and lemon, and add a little local honey for an immune boost tea. Make your own golden milk with homemade almond milk, turmeric, and honey for a delicious and liver cleansing before bed beverage. OHG farmers sell produce that’s ideal for medicinal teas: All Green Farm has jujube, ginger, cinnamon tea to sample and Gaytan Family Farm suggests steeping artichoke leaves for a diabetic-friendly tea. The Potting Shed has chamomile, mint, lemon balm, and other herbs so you can make truly healthy teas.
9. Bring a Friend. Carpool, or better yet, ride your bike with a friend to spare the air, share recipes, and catch up over coffee, check out the chef demo, pet some baby farm animals, smell the flowers, dance to the music, raise the vibration.
10. Think Outside the Bottle. Every year Americans throw away enough plastic bottles to circle the globe four times and billions of pounds of plastic pollute our waterways and oceans. Plastic is toxic to our bodies and to the Earth. Take your refillable bottle or coffee mug to the market for free water and coffee to reduce your plastic footprint. Learn more at: http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-bottled-water/
11. Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz. Discover your biggest areas of resource consumption so you can figure out what steps you can take to lighten your footprint: http://www.earthday.org/take-action/footprint-calculator/
Want More? Expand your eco-food literacy and your palate on our free monthly market tours, held on the first Saturday of the month at 9:30 am.I look forward to meeting you at the info booth.