Today we find ourselves fighting our way back to our local food source and the farming practices of yesterday. Accountability can only be established when a relationship between the farmer and the consumer exists. Farmers markets and green markets have risen from the 1,755 in 1994 to 7,175 in 2011 due to consumer demand, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today more than 58 percent of our population shops at farmers markets.
With all this having been said, shopping farmers markets doesn’t guarantee local; local doesn’t guarantee chemical- and pesticide-free; all natural doesn’t guarantee organic; and farm-to-fork doesn’t guarantee that the farm was indeed within our community. We must ask questions. It is our right to know what is nourishing our bodies. It is our right to spend our hard-earned dollars on real food that is fresh and we deserve the right of answerability. So ask your farmers market vendors where the fruits and veggies were grown and how they were grown. Ask your restaurants claiming farm-to-fork who their farmer is, and by all means demand food that is local, organic, grass fed and non-GMO, as well as has proper labeling and no more false advertising. It is our right to know the answers to those questions and it is our responsibility to lead those we buy from in the direction of reducing the demand for fossil fuels. Each purchase we make is a vote! Exercise your right and vote responsibly!
Tips for Reducing the Demand for Fossil Fuels
• Reduce, reuse and recycle: By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Buy economy sizes, buy products that use less packaging (boxes, packing materials etc.) or that come in recycled packaging.
• Use less heat or air conditioning: Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Do this at the very least when you’re away from home, at work or gone for the evening or weekend.
• Replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light. The United States could eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equal to 800,000 cars if each household in the country replaced just one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb, according to Energy Star. Energy Star is a program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to help consumers save money and protect the environment by using energy efficient products and practices.
• Drive less and drive smart. Walk, carpool or bike whenever possible. When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires inflated properly can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget; it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
• Switch to e-cards instead of paper. So many are available for free online.
• Go paperless: Use washcloths, cloth napkins and kitchen towels instead of paper towels and paper napkins.• Reduce the amount of junk mail that comes to your home or office (call catalog companies and tell them to take you off their list, call your debtors like power company, water, cable, mortgage and credit card companies and tell them to send you your bills via email)
• Reduce the amount of stuff you throw away by using Craigslist, Freecycle, eBay or donate to Goodwill and other non-profit organizations.
• Buy used. The same resources listed above can help.
• Reduce the amount of resources you utilize. Use less detergent, cut out the fabric softener and dryer sheets — use a half cup of white vinegar in the wash instead.
• Reduce the amount of pesticides you consume and that are released into our environment by going organic.
• Plant a tree.
• Demand that your favorite restaurants use their local and organic farms and truly become farm-to-fork!