Take a pause for the plan­e­tary cause

Village Post - - News - by Ron John­son

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

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

RON JOHN­SON

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