I attended the Friday evening farmer's market yesterday. While there are a number of farms in the vicinity, my town does not hold its own farmer's market. There are three neighboring cities that do have these weekly events. The drive yesterday was about 15 miles (as the crow flies), but takes about 30 minutes due to winding two-lane roads and town stop signs.
As I have mentioned before, I think it is important to find local food sources and to support local growers. A thriving local economy is one of the first defenses against the excess and pollution of global corporate culture. When purchasing from local farmers at the market, I am not purchasing anything packaged or processed, so there is no trash to recycle, and the organically and sustainably grown goods have offset their own carbon footprint.
In addition, I saved money. I spent $18.00, and got 1.5 pounds of raw local honey, my week's supply of beets, lettuce, basil, and onions, and two heirloom plants for my garden. (A basil and a chocolate habanero - yum!) My money was given directly to a local farmer who will in turn most likely spend it locally. Perhaps at the Grange co-op. The same food at the grocery store would have cost me $27.00, and the money would have gone to a regional chain store where it would likely leave the community. Even though the market is two towns over, the farm is closer to my town, and the communities are very close-knit. In this neck of the woods, I was still buying local.
I used my woven market basket and the produce bags I make myself, so no plastic or paper bags were necessary. If you don't make your own, nifty produce bags can be purchased (here). There was no big diesel truck driven thousands of miles to get the food into my hands. And I was able to view arts and crafts of local artisans and listen to local musicians while I shopped. I chatted with the man who keeps the bees that made the honey I will soon eat. He offered to lend his beekeeping knowledge. I shared tips with the lady selling lavender about the best drying techniques. I discussed seed sharing with the heirloom seedling vendor.
I learned where and how my food was grown. I met the farmers who are feeding me. I know when and how my food was harvested. I have remembered to speak with my consumer dollars and to place them where they might best make a difference in greening our world. And I had fun in so doing. Check on your city's website or local news bulletin to find out where you can find a local farmer's market and join me. Even if you have to drive, bike, or walk a small distance.