Bring Your Own Bags and Containers to the Farmers’ Market

Why are farmers’ market goers shopping like they were at the supermarkets in the 80s when it comes to bringing their own bags and containers?

People who shop at the farmers’ markets tend be more health and environmentally conscious than the average person. They go there for the fresh food that’s better for their health. They go there for less processed food than is available at the groceries store or other places, that is also better for their health. They go there to buy local and support local farming. They go there to buy local and minimize GHG emissions from less food miles, which is a green myth but they deserve points for trying to be environmentally conscious.

So why are they still insisting on getting a bag for everything they buy instead of bringing their own, even when grocery stores are offering rewards for bringing your own bag?

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Some Thoughts and Statistics on the New Seaport Farmers’ Market in Halifax

The new Seaport Farmers’ Market in Halifax is almost in full swing now. It is now open 3 days a week, Fri-Sun, and much longer each day than the half day before at the old market that was open just once per week Sat morning. The future intent is for the new market to be open 6 days a week, though the farmers will only be there for 3. The other 3 days will only have craft sellers. It’s a nice big space and I love it, although I hear the busking musicians are disgruntled due to the open space leaving all of them to be heard so they have to compete to get above each other (The Coast, Sep 9 2010). Hey, I like the music and appreciate its contribution to the ambiance of a farmers’ market, but it’s a new farmers’ market building, not a concert hall.

I love the additional selection and larger stands, though I have to curb myself on the cooked food. It smells and tastes great, but just see how much raw food you can get for the same amount of money on a cooked plate, and you’ll not only see the value of labour to your food costs, but also where many of those cents to your food dollar that’s not going to the farmers end up going. Going there with someone who might expect you to buy something, which includes yourself, is also going to be costly with all the potential little craft trinkets you can buy for significant others, kids, etc. It’s great to see all the stuff, but is hard to resist. So far, I have bought nothing other than raw food from the farmers.

I’ll leave with some statistics about the farmers’ market scene in Nova Scotia and the Seaport Farmers’ Market, from various sources like The Coast paper and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

  • 40 Nova Scotia Farmers’ Markets Sep 2010, few opened all week
  • New farmers’ market is in an R-2000 building (NRCan designation) that uses 85% less energy and 50% less water than old market
    R2000-standard PDF
  • New farmers’ market is twice the size of old market (which is still open) at 4,000 sq feet
  • 10,000+ visitors per Saturday (August figures, but is still as crowded as far as I can tell)
  • Total vendors increased by at least 50% between new and old markets opening, though not all are food vendors
  • NS Community Supported Agriculture farms (CSAs) and farmers’ market bring in about $90M a year (and growing) to farmers (includes prepared foods, possibly crafts, so can’t just take it against farm gate)

Earth Day Pledge Update #2 – My Farmers’ Market Experience

For Earth Day 2010, I made a pledge to eat better.

I then defined “better” with four specific goals.

This is an update on goal #1, which was to spend more money on groceries at the farmers’ markets than in the grocery and other stores. That’s without having to go to extremes of not eating what I want or paying unreasonable prices for similar products in the grocery stores.

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