After seven snow-ridden months, the long-awaited Flagstaff farmers market has finally arrived! While the sun showered us in warmth, we perused the dozens of potted produce that customers could grow in their own home, the ethically-sourced fruits and vegetables, and the innovative goods small business owners prepared.
An overwhelming amount of fruits, vegetables, and greens were provided in bulk, making a zero-waste shopping experience more feasible.
There are many incentives for customers to bring back their jars and bottles. One company, Olinka Kombucha, sells a variety of different kombucha on tap and is more than happy to reuse the glass bottles that people bring, providing a dollar discount. Aguiar Farms, which sold flowers in a glass jar, encouraged customers to bring the jar back to be rewarded a dollar off their next flower purchase.
Regarding sustainability, there is more the farmer’s market could do to limit single-use waste. While shopping and interacting with local farmers and vendors, we noticed the amount of plastic that was utilized in the packaging of these local goods. This single use, polluting substance was wrapped around baked goods, bread, chips, hummus, and salsa. Additionally, pop-up eateries that offered crepes, breakfast burritos, and other food to patrons gave out single-use plastic plates, cutlery and cups.
We couldn’t help but think how detrimental this neglect for the environment was, especially in a space like a farmer’s market, where sustainability is applauded. A ban on all plastic at events akin to this one would be an excellent measure in order to promote a zero-waste lifestyle in the everyday consumers life. Unfortunately, there are some restrictions regarding the rules and regulations placed upon vendors by the Health Department that make low waste distribution difficult. We understand the importance of maintaining the community’s health, but there should be strides to do so without harming our environment.
We highly recommend visiting your local farmer’s market. It is a great way to support your local farmers and business owners, just don’t forget your reusable bags!