Sustainability, green, eco-friendly, food security, global warming, climate change – by now we’ve all heard the buzz words, and some have even begun to lose their meaning, or at least their sincerity. But all green-washing aside, it is certain that we have a few major problems on our hands. One that hits home for me: it seems that everyone is feeling increasingly insecure about food. How much is that? What’s for dinner tonight? How many calories? Are these organic? Methyl para-hydroxybenzoate?
Beyond the pressing global issues surrounding availability, access, and action that affect such a large portion of the population, the food insecurities that surround us from day to day are almost as alarming, and disconcertingly ironic. Problems like food waste, eating disorders, farmers struggling to feed themselves, and the ecological destruction caused by the agricultural industry. Indeed, I am feeling insecure about food.
And really, should it come as a surprise? With the way food is being marketed, produced, packaged, and sold, it is all too easy to become confused and disconnected. But fear not – urban dwellers are gaining more and more access to locally-grown, fresh food, enabling them to feel connected to, appreciative of, and secure about the food they eat.
Anyone who has visited a farmers’ market can attest that the experience is much more than just a shopping trip. You get to talk to other people in your community, interact with the farmers and vendors that produce the food you eat, and there’s often live music to set the mood as you peruse the local goodies.
The McGill Farmers’ Market allows the student body and the downtown community to experience such an event. The only market situated in the heart of downtown, this market gives the student body and the downtown community the opportunity to experience the beauty of a farmers’ market organized by some fellow McGill students. Now in its third year of operation, the market began this week and will be held every Wednesday in September and October from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
What better way to build a sense of community and security than to connect with your food and with the people that produce it? When you buy at a farmers’ market, you fuel the local economy and support sustainable agricultural practices. Choosing to buy your food there is not just a pleasurable social experience, it’s a step toward a more sustainable lifestyle. To begin with, the food itself is fresher, picked riper, and as a result, tastes better. By purchasing your food at the market, you are also supporting small-scale farmers, often organic, who engage in more sustainable agricultural practices and maintain the ecological health of the land they cultivate. Rather than supporting a grocery chain that carries mostly highly packaged, processed, and imported food, at markets you buy directly from the farmer, so more of your money is going towards a good cause. I think we can all feel very good about that.
Susanna Klassen, U2 in Environmental Science, is a co-coordinator of the McGill Farmers’ Market. The Farmers’ Markets will be held in Three Bares Park every Wednesday in September and October. Write her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.