Farmers Markets Are The Best And I Love Them (part one)
My favourite thing to do on a Saturday is to go to the Farmer's Markets.
It's an activity that connects me to the seasons, to my community and it provides me with inspiration. Aside from my own personal reasons, I also choose to buy from my local market because I believe it's a more ethical choice for a number of environmental reasons. While doing the weekly groceries may not sound like a highlight of the week, a trip to the farmers markets is something special to me.
In fact, I love it so much I'm going to make this extended love letter into a two part post.
What a time.
Every time I return from an overseas trip I find that I need to actively remind myself of the reasons I love living in Canberra. Renewing relationships within my community and my connection to the land are important ways that a trip to the market can ground me and make me feel at home. There's a lovely sense of community and friendship at the market. I always see people I know and I often arrange to meet friends there. Everyone in the place has carved out a specific time from their week to all participate in the same activity and experience the same atmosphere. It's a routine more alike to going to church than anything else I do in my life. Now, have you ever felt like a trip to ColesWorths was anything even remotely sacred?
Aside the spiritual reasons for loving the market, I've found that eating seasonally is a tangible way to shift myself back into the Canberra time zone; it's a physical reminder of time, space and home. By shopping and, therefore, eating seasonally I am living with a closer relationship to the environment around me. While other areas of our lives are so often dominated by instant gratification, eating ethically forces us to literally wait for the earth to spin around. Not only does the food taste better when it's fresh and seasonal, but it's also a good reminder to slow down and appreciate the good things that grow in the place you live and the moment you're in. They say home is where the heart is, but I reckon stomach is more accurate for me.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how, as an individual, I can consume more ethically and shopping locally is one of the simplest ways for me to make a difference. So aside from all that mushy 'feelings' stuff, farmers markets are better for the environment! Most produce at a farmers market has been grown organically, without the use of pesticides or chemicals. They also use much less plastic packaging which is more good news for our planet.
Food waste is a global crisis, and big supermarket chains have historically been a significant part of the issue. While sales of 'odd looking' vegetables is a (small) step in the right direction for ColesWorths, they are still big contributors to the problem. Farmers markets, however, have always offered the wacky looking carrots, misshapen fruit, or spotty apples to those who want them. I have personally grabbed a number of excellent bargains: most recently making delicious tomato chutney with a couple of kilos of 'ugly', but beautifully cheap, tomatoes.
Another big environmental bonus is that all the produce comes from within a limited radius which radically cuts down on food miles. And while the big supermarket chains have mostly committed to selling mostly Australian produce, its not everything. Plus, flying in avocados from Western Australia is still a big drain on resources: Australia is fucking huge. In case that all sounds too academic, think of it this way: the further a vegetable has to travel to get to your plate, the older and nastier it is becoming. Vegetables grown in your area are fresher, tastier and more nutritious.
Supporting a farmers market is a strong (and simple) way to send a message to the large supermarket chains. Your consumer dollars are powerful! So put your money where your ethics are!
This is a two-parter post so please come back! If you have any thoughts or ideas of more things you'd like to see on here please feel free to let me know. Catch y'all soon