On Wednesday, July 21, I attended a lecture in our green speaker series on the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market that sets up every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Julie Cummins of the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), the nonprofit that runs the market, gave a lunchtime presentation about sustainability, the path food takes from the farm to your plate, and how farmers markets not only keep local farms in business, but also raise the bar on what fresh and flavorful means. She shared a list of top ten reasons to shop at a Farmers' Market.
- You get to taste real flavors since the food ripens in the field and is brought directly to you,
- Food is seasonal. Instead of all produce all the time, you get to look forward to asparagus in the spring, sweet corn in the summer, and pumpkins in the fall.
- You support family farmers by giving them a better return for their produce.
- You protect the environment. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles to get to your plate. Food at a farmers' market typically travels less than 100 miles.
- Much food found in the grocery stores is highly processed. Farmers at the farmers' markets go to great lengths to produce the most nutritious food possible by minimizing its processing.
- You can discover an amazing variety of produce at a farmers' market that you will not find in grocery stores.
- You can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics unlike their brethren on feedlots.
- You learn where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers is a great opportunity to learn more about how food is grown.
- You can pick up free advice on how to cook the foods that are sold at the farmers' market. Seldom will a grocery store cashier provide such advice.
- You connect with your community by strolling outside on a sunny day instead of rolling a cart in a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music.
Thinking about eating green is alive in the lab.