Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sustainable event: one

Just the other day my friend Carlos and I took a trip to the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. I have lived in the Greensboro area for about four years now and Carlos, his whole life. Yet, neither one of us had ever been to the Farmers Market. As we arrived we were very excited to see all the venders and smell all of the fresh sweet fruits. I also took note of the planning of the space. There were about five to six permanent indoor-outdoor structures with space for vender’s tables, tents, and trucks. There were also designated restroom locations in addition to electric; to keep the produce and dairy products cold. One thing I didn’t expect to see was out of season/ long distance foods. Perhaps I am not well versed in the capabilities of North Carolinas growing climate but I am most certain that avocados usually grow in Mexico and carrots don’t grow themselves into a bushel and then put themselves into a grocery store bag. That’s when I began to think how could a farmers market be unsustainable? So I started to ask around and found that the first two venders I spoke with were from somewhere near Ashville. That’s about 172 miles away! Can you imagine the price in gas it took to get them here? Ok, Maybe that’s not so bad. Isn’t the rule of thumb that something must be within 500 miles to be considered sustainable? Never the less, thinking about the trucks driving all that way made me consider the parking lot. Was there really a need to lay all of that asphalt? Couldn’t the contractors keep the gravel lot? Well maybe I was visiting on a slow day, (Sunday afternoon) maybe there are busier days where all this space is really needed. Next I got to thinking about how people, non-farmers, would get to the market. Was there a bus station? Could a passenger train stop by? Sure, the market is right off of rout forty which makes it convenient for automotive travelers but I couldn’t imagine anyone trying to ride their bike here.

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