Farmers Market Love

Farmers Market Love

I work part time for a local micro-distillery, Odd Society Spirits, and help them out at the Vancouver Farmers Markets. Lucky, lucky me! My weekends are filled with local (sticker/twist tie free) products, inspiring business owners and folk music. Farmers Markets are filled with inspiration and innovation, I couldn’t ask for a better way to spend a sunny day. I thought it would be cool to show you some of the highlights of all the waste-free gems I found!

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I have to admit I’ve been craving snack type food lately. This fabulous little find is great if you’ve been desiring chips. Organic popping corn from Klippers Organics. Remove Kernels, put in pot, add coconut oil, pop, salt, sprinkle ume plum vinegar (trust me…it’s a family popcorn secret), eat, repeat.

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As the summer approaches and we leave more fruit around the house, the flies start to swarm our homes. Flypapers are an easy go-to solution that contain a fragrant, sticky and poisonous substance which kill these little buggers. Besides creating unnecessary waste, the poisonous substance can also be very toxic for us and for animals. Why not get a carnivorous plant? Pop’s Predatory Plants sells Sarracenia. Sarracenias have tubular pitchers which are modified leaves and because they mimic flowers, insects are attracted to them. Odd Society uses them for their entire tasting room during the summer months, so one of them for your home will be quite enough. Needless to say I was pretty mesmerized by these natural, waste free predators.

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One thing I love about Farmers Markets is all the sampling. My mouth waters on my bike ride to the market thinking about all the food. I’ve been more aware of the little things now that I’m doing this zero-waste challenge, and one of the things I noticed today was the use of plastic for sampling, especially drinks. I found one booth that uses all biodegradable sampling cups: Trudy Ann’s Chai. All her packaging is compostable and her chai is pretty darn good. As a chai snob, I would say hers is some of the best in town. I always get my jar filled up at the start of the market…it especially helps when it’s an early morning market. Healthy AND delicious AND waste free! I hope to see more vendors follow in Trudy Ann’s footsteps by reducing the use of plastic and making the switch to using compostable products when they can.

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Talk about a low carbon footprint,Β these girls get their booth set up by using the power of their muscles. They got this off Craigslist and repurposed it. It was originally a dog carrier, and they transformed it to Nice Pops: artisan, mobile, ice pops.Β A car creates more waste than we can dream up, so deciding to build a business on a bike, is a zero-waste love story.

I love love love the Farmer’s Markets, there’s so much creativity and good local products. Check out a farmers market in your area. Start asking vendors about their efforts to become waste free. I think the types of people who are part of markets are going to be very receptive to caring for our planet. There are so many little things I didn’t notice until I made the decision to go zero-waste, so making people aware is the first step towards change.

Hope you had a happy weekend!

Jar Alert!

Jar Alert!

I walked into my kitchen today to see a display of odd jars full of random expired perishables on the kitchen counter. Apparently they are all from ghosts of roommates past. My roommate had cleaned out the fridge. To a lot of people the work and whiffs of unpleasant odours would be enough to make tossing these jars the go-to option. But all I could think when I saw them was “JARS!!!” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

I was planning to go to the store to buy some matching mason jars because aesthetically I thought a matching kitchen would be nice. But the non-materialist, zero-waste part of me kicked in full force when I saw the task before me. I got to washing and cleaning about a dozen jars which consisted of old olives, almost finished mustard, weird cocktail sauces, and a slew of other mystery items.

As I was cleaning out the jars I had a little epiphany; isn’t this what true recycling is.

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When you throw a glass jar (or any glass container) into the recycling bin what happens to it, where does it go?

Although glass is one of the few materials that can be infinitely recycled without losing it’s strength, it still takes a lot of energy to “recycle” it. Once you throw it out, it has to be picked up by a truck to be taken to the glass treatment plant, sorted and washed, crushed and melted, moulded into new products such as bottles and jars, picked up, then finally, sent back out into the world (by truck). I admit, it’s a zillion times better than plastic. It still takes up a lot of energy though.

“Recycling” a jar is pretty much the same as making a new jar. Day three of my zero-waste challenge has shifted my perspective on what recycling means to me now. To me, it means taking an object and using it again without using energy to convert it into anything other than what it is.

I even think my new unmatched kitchen looks better than what I had previously envisioned. I like how natural and uncontrived it feels. I’ve also started to appreciate the different shapes of the jars and have picked a few favourites for skin care products that I’m going to make.

I’m sure if you ask people you know, at least a few of them have unwanted jars in the back of their fridge. Offer to clean them out and in return you get to add some funky mismatched jars to your own kitchen.

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