I love farmers markets and recognize the importance of supporting them. I wrote about my great love of them here – There is no denying the awesome freshness of just-picked produce. But, it goes beyond just great taste and nutrition that the farmers markets offer us… it also has importance when it comes to sustainability.
The following article was submitted by Thomas W. Morrison…
Doug Band and the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) as well as US Ecologist Gary Nabhan believe we must try new ways in order to promote crop diversity. Nabhan takes a different approach to biodiversity and believes that we must remember to try new things and immerse ourselves in the very concept of diversity. He has caught the attention of many over the years through his theories of sustainability through grocery shopping. In an interview recently Nabhan stated that, “in other environmental issues we tell people to stop something, reduce their impact, reduce their damage.” His article Coming Home to Eat was published in 2001, and afterwards the local food movement exploded with a movement towards farmers markets and everything green.
Along with Gary Nabhan there have been a rising number of organizations that are starting to see the importance of contributing to sustainability through conservation. Bill Clinton, Doug Band and the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative) have been working diligently on removing emission reduction projects throughout the country. They have partnered with companies such as Donlen, Environmental Defense Fund, and GreenDriver to reduce commercial fleet emissions 20% in five years. The Earth Day Network has also been playing a large part in bringing conservationist and green enthusiast together opening a forum to discussion new ways to support our planet. As climate control continues to worsen, collaboration amongst individuals and organizations is essential for a successful green campaign. As human beings, we’re always being told to reduce our carbon footprint, consume less unhealthy foods, and spend less time in the shower. Gary Nabhan strongly suggests that we take a step back and look at this from a completely different perspective.
A study done by the The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, shows that only about a quarter of crop diversity is left and about a dozen species now gives 90% of the animal protein eaten globally. In addition, just about 4 crop species supply half of plant-based calories in the human diet. Nabhan proposes that eating foods that are homegrown will have a greater impact on sustainability for our planet as a whole. Otherwise known as “eat what you conserve,” is a well-established theory in that by eating the fruits and vegetables that we are attempting to conserve/save, we’re promoting the granular dissemination of various plant species.
Agriculturist Marco Contiero also mentions “biodiversity is an essential characteristic of any sustainable agricultural system, especially in the context of climate change.” According to Conterio’s theory, this would suggest that as individuals we tend our own crops/plants, and should make sure to purchase localized farm products at supermarkets and groceries. In the end, this condenses export/import reliance, thus reducing our carbon footprint.
Both theories rely profoundly on an action-oriented approach at conservation and sustainability. With an abundance of green movements following Earth Day 2010, organizations and individuals have taken a stronger following to expert opinions like the ones demonstrated by both of these highly influential agriculturalists. As the spring season approaches, remember to visit your local farmers markets to purchase your fresh fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, as eco-conscious individuals, don’t hesitate to stop the next time you drive by a yard stand with fresh crops. It is clear that promoting biodiversity and localized farming is a crucial piece of the conservation puzzle.