Take a pause for the plan­e­tary cause

Farmer’s mar­kets and bik­ing to work are two easy Earth Day pledges

Annex Post - - NEWS - By Ron John­son RON JOHN­SON

En­vi­ron­men­tal­ism isn’t al­ways easy in a big city. The fran­tic pace at which life is lived in Toronto makes it dif­fi­cult to con­sider the ex­tent of our own im­pacts now as well as in the fu­ture.

I sup­pose that’s one of the ideas be­hind Earth Day, a sub­tle lit­tle nudge to take a mo­ment for the planet.

Way back when, be­ing an eco­minded fella was eas­ier. I had a small apart­ment. It was sim­ple to ride my bike ev­ery­where and take the time to cook de­li­cious veg­e­tar­ian meals and things like that. But life gets hec­tic some­times, then some­one breaks out the chicken wings at the tail end of a party, and the rest is car­niv­o­rous his­tory.

Now, with a fam­ily and con­stant shut­tling back and forth be­tween work, school, pi­ano lessons and sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, life is a blur.

So it’s im­por­tant every once in a while to take a pause for the plan­e­tary cause.

One thing I do as a re­minder is ride my bi­cy­cle to work with some sem­blance of reg­u­lar­ity, at least as soon as the spring weather hits. An­other good one is to hit the farmer’s mar­ket.

Go­ing to a farmer’s mar­ket, whether it be at St. Lawrence, Brick Works or Duf­ferin Grove or in Thorn­hill or north Toronto, is a grow­ing trend, but it’s much more than just a chance to nab some fresh pro­duce from a lo­cal farm.

It al­lows par­ents to teach their kids about food and where it comes from (and to re­mind us par­ents as well). It also al­lows us to slow things down. It is shop­ping as a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

I have al­ways found that choices made over food are the best way to think about the im­pacts we have on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Through food shop­ping, we ex­plore is­sues around pes­ti­cides and GMOs, fac­tory farm­ing, sub­ur­ban sprawl and waste. We also think about trans­porta­tion, by con­sid­er­ing how far our food trav­els on boats and trains and trucks and how much fuel is con­sumed not only get­ting to the mar­ket, but also when we make se­lec­tions from around the world at a gro­cery store ver­sus what’s in sea­son at a farmer’s mar­ket.

Farmer’s mar­kets could even help fam­i­lies take larger steps, such as buying a share of a lo­cal farm through a mar­ket bas­ket pro­gram or other com­mu­ni­ty­sup­ported agri­cul­ture pro­gram.

When I was younger, I was a mem­ber of an old-fash­ioned food co-op where ev­ery­one took turns work­ing at the store, stock­ing shelves or manag­ing the reg­is­ter. It was em­pow­er­ing. It feels good to make good choices and take the time to think about what foods we are buying and why.

My Earth Day pledge is to do more of that. What’s yours?

St. Lawrence Mar­ket makes for an eco-friendly meal and fam­ily fun

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