From Hiking Boots to High Rock: Saving the Planet with Farmers’ Markets

0

By Marley Bonacquist-Currin

 

Marley Bonacquist-Currin hosting the Power of Produce Club for Kids, photo courtesy of Pattie Garrett

A year ago I left the United States in my hiking boots with high hopes of learning to save the planet. Three months later, having learned a lifetime of lessons from a 100 person eco-village in Iceland, I returned to my home country, full of excitement and enthusiasm for doing what I loved and for helping our world by living what I had learned.

And quickly I began to feel as though my dreams were being crushed like a bug.

I walked into grocery stores full of packaging and plastic-looking produce. After a semester of growing everything but the kitchen sink, my heart sank. I felt as though I had fallen into a dream at Solheimar, the eco-village in Iceland, and had been brutally awakened by a harsh reality back home that people don’t care.

Then, an internship with the  Saratoga Farmers’ Market popped up. It felt like a match made in heaven, and happily, it was, right here on earth.

This summer, I’ve run barefoot through High Rock Park on rainy days, laughing with the vendors as thunderstorms and torrential showers have hit, sweated on sunny days while sipping real-food smoothies to cool off, and be surrounded by fresh produce and wonderful people.

When I came back from Iceland to my world as a Siena College student, I didn’t feel at home. At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, I realized home was amongst the berries and beans, mushrooms and melons. The positive energies and fresh local foods remind me that people do care. Packed from open to close, with kids flooding in on Wednesdays to spend their Power of Produce tokens on fresh blueberries and string beans, the market suggests that there is a generation of people growing up barefoot in the grass, eyes full of wonder, who believe that farmer’s markets are the real grocery stores.

As my last semester at Siena College begins, I look forward to helping businesses realize the planet is worth saving through farmers’ markets. I want my generation and others to know that it’s time to get started.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is at High Rock Park, 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through October. We move to our winter location at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park on November 4.