The first night in Connecticut was spent at the nearest Whole Foods, in search of an available compost. Unable to find one near the trash can, such as the location in New York, I asked a cashier who answered, “What is a compost?” I was stuck with my jar full of compostable fruit peels and cores until a potential alternative arose.
A few days later I attended the Westport Farmer’s Market which was nearby. I was surprised to find a completely different set up than I had experienced in any other farmer’s market. Samples came in compostable packaging, reusable silverware was available, recyclable paper plates and straws replaced the common plastic option, and waste was separated accordingly for market-goers, with a compost bin available.
Westport Farmer’s Market implemented sustainability in a simple way, making it easily convenient for consumers. Some of the amenities that they offered may not be available to low-income communities, since Westport is incredibly affluent. Although, implementing more sustainable regulations at a farmer’s market is possible through volunteering, collaboration, and proper education.
Flagstaff, for example, could restrict the accessibility of single-use plastic at the market by working with vendors and attendees to succeed in doing so. There may be some sustainable features at Westport Farmer’s Market that can be incorporated, while others can be modified to achieve a similar result. If county funds are low, people can receive a discount for bringing their own silverware or cup, or vendors can supply reusable merchandise with their product that can be cycled back into use.
On a more individual level, fancy reusable bags and food wrap is not necessary to become more sustainable. Becoming more sustainable can easily be done by using empty glass pasta sauce jars or sewing bags out of thrifted pillowcases, rather than using unnecessary plastic and buying products made to be thrown away. When combating an issue like climate change and sustainability, there are different methods that can be easier, more accessible, or affordable.
There is no right way to transition to sustainable alternatives, but learning from others is a great way to innovate and collaborate. By initiating conversation and participating in the well-being of your community, you can start to implement change that you wish to see on a more local level.