Thursday, July 24, 2014

Farmers Market environmental campaign is in the bag

Farmers Markets MeshBagsW

Davis Farmers Market staffer Hannah Vogel displays the Market's new reusable mesh bags, branded with the Market's logo and name. The Market is giving away a package of three bags to the first 500 customers who come to the Market shed starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 19. The give-away is part of the Market's "Go Green, Feel Good " campaign that promotes reducing plastic bags use at the market. Courtesy photo

The Davis Farmers Market will launch its “Go Green, Feel Good” campaign from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 19, to take a stand against plastic bags with the hope of showing shoppers a better way.

The campaign builds on the market’s zero-waste program at Picnic in the Park, which was launched in 2010, that diverts more than 90 percent of trash and garbage generated at the 33-week concert series that runs from mid-March through October. The market has diverted from landfills more than 56,000 pounds (28 tons) of waste since 2010 when the program began.

Randii MacNear, market manager and executive director of Davis Farmers Market Association, says the idea came from the market’s board last year.

“Once we heard the news about Davis City Council’s move toward a plastic bag ordinance, board members started thinking about how the market might respond,” she said. “We started talking about what role the market could play in reducing plastic bag use among our customers.”

The city’s single-use carryout bag ordinance was passed by the City Council on Nov. 12, 2013, and went into effect on July 1. The ordinance bans single-use plastic bags at all retail, restaurant and city facilities in Davis. Even though the ordinance exempts plastic bags used for bulk items — produce, candy, nuts, cereals, doughnuts, cookies, etc. — and for meat, frozen food and potted plants, the market is focusing on showing shoppers a better way to shop.

MacNear added: “That means shopping without using plastic bags whenever you can.”

Davis Farmers Market purchased 7,000 reusable mesh bags — packaging and labels branded with market’s name — for the Go Green, Feel Good campaign with plans to give several thousand to market vendors to give their customers, and give another few thousand directly to shoppers. Shoppers may also purchase the bags in packages of three (three bags for $3) at the market shed.

“Davis residents understand how plastic bags are polluting the environment,” MacNear said. “We’re a pretty green community and the market wants to help people see how easy it is to use fewer plastic bags when they shop.”

MacNear says the market’s shopping baskets have been big sellers for almost a decade, and using a basket or tote for shopping is the first step toward shopping without plastic. “We’ve produced posters and fliers illustrating how to use a shopping basket and mesh bags. We worked with Davis Media Access to produce a YouTube video that will help people see how easy it is to reduce their use of plastic bags when shopping. It’s all about changing our habits and our reliance on plastic bags.”

The first mesh bag giveaway to shoppers will be at the market on Saturday, July 19. The first 500 shoppers who stop by the shed will receive a free package of three reusable mesh bags. Bag giveaways are also planned for upcoming Wednesday and Saturday markets (dates TBA). Reusable mesh bags will also be available for purchase at the market shed at the Wednesday and Saturday markets until supplies run out.

MacNear added, “Going green when you shop our farmers market is not just about changing our reliance on plastic bags. It’s also about feeling good when you go green.”

Special to The Enterprise


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