Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Does Your Food Contain GMOs?

It’s something we take for granted at the farmers’ market: that the booths and tables heaped with veggies and fruits are all-natural. No fillers, no preservatives, just healthy nutrition. We love that about farmers’ market day—you just can’t go wrong!

But take a stroll in your local grocery store, and shopping gets a lot more complicated. Trans-fats, corn syrup, hydrogenated—blegh. But there’s something else you might steer clear of, if you were given the choice: genetically modified foods.

There’s something unnatural about GMOs. In fact, that’s their definition, even by Monsanto’s own standards: “Plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs.”

Some argue that there is no inherent risk in GMO food. Some argue that GMOs will bring irreversible harm to our foodsystem. But whatever we individually think, more than 93% of Americans believe that GMOs should belabeled, so that consumers can make the choice to buy or boycott on their own—fully informed that they are making a choice.

The Just Label It campaign has two weeks to collect 1 million signatures and deliver them to the FDA. They are 99% of the way to their goal—help them get there by signing the petition at www.justlabelit.org. Because we have the right to know!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What is the big deal about local food?

Here is a great video from last season, film by Joshua Guerci, audio by Jeff Morales. You may recognize the farmer as our very own Mark Lovejoy of Garden Treasures in Arlington. He is answering the question: Is eating local organic food more expensive?
I love that he is able to so easily articulate his thoughts on local food. There is another point that was touched on this short video that I also believe everyone should factor in to the "low" perceived cost of conventional food. When you buy strawberries flown half way around the world and sold in a chain store you are not able to contribute to the health of your community with this purchase. Most of the dollars spent at a locally owned independent business stay right in your community. Experts agree that spending money at an independent business can have a positive impact on your community, in a way which spending at a big box can not. I have seen estimates hover around the $.80 mark on each dollar spent, where as chain stores and big box stores only leave about $.40 of each dollar in our community. If you spend your money locally, you aren't just buying strawberries any more, but contributing to the independence and strength of your community. "If you want your own community to be successful you have to be ready to support it."- Mark Lovejoy. Can we afford not to buy local?
I hope to see you out at the market this summer buying local and supporting your community!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Arlington Farmers' Market Frequently Asked Questions

The 2012 Season is just around the corner! As we get closer to opening day, and new potential vendors become interested in joining us for the next season it's helpful to have a place of reference for frequently asked questions. Would you consider becoming a vendor? Now that the new Cottage Food Law  has passed in Washington State, the door is open for smaller producers to enrich their local community market. Local food, strong community!
Local food is good old family fun! Photo credit Photography by Lindsey

Q: When does the 2012 season begin and end?
A: The 2012 Season opens at 10:00am Saturday July 7th in conjunction with the City of Arlington’s street fair. We will continue to open Every Saturday between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm until Saturday September 1st 2012. The market will close regular season Saturdays, we will host our second annual Handmade Holiday the first Saturday in December. Separate applications, fees and guidelines apply for our December 1st market.

Q: How do I become a vendor at the Arlington Farmers Market?
A: Contact the Market Director Audrey Houston at Arlingtonfarmersmarket@hotmail.com or by phone at 425-330-6105. After a brief conversation about your product, service or organization the application can be sent to you in the mail or by email. We may request photos of your previous booths or craft items to screen for duplication and quality.

Q: What types of things can be sold at the farmers’ market?
A: Items grown in Snohomish, Skagit, or Whatcom county on owner occupied farms, one of a kind crafts made with your two hands from locally sourced items, prepared food items made in accordance with all the Washington State Farmers Association guidelines as well at the Snohomish county health department regulation and some service providers (at the discretion of the market director) are welcome to attend.

Q: What items are not allowed to be sold at the market?
A: Any item sold by franchise, any premade item resold even if it has been repackaged( ie: gift baskets, with the exception of Eastern Washington fruits not otherwise represented in the market.) items made from kits,  mechanically mass produced or items not in compliance with the Washington State Farmers Market Association guidelines. 

Q: Are dogs allowed to attend the market?
A: As of the start of the 2012 season, dogs with good behavior are allowed to attend the market, with the owner assuming any and all damages that may occur while the dog is in the market. Dogs MUST  BE ON A LEASH.
Dog gone it! It's fun! Photo Credit Photography by Lindsey