Farmers markets draw Tam students

By Julia Francis

The Sunday Marin Farmers Market is not only a time to scour the tents for enticing produce but a social gathering for many Tam students as well.

This farmers market is the third largest in the state, taking place every Sunday in the parking lot behind the Marin Civic Center.

Since last school year, farmers markets have been opening all over Marin, giving a larger opportunity for Tam students to visit. Most recently, the Marin City Farmers Market opened on June 6 of this year.

With road bikes leaned against every tree and reusable totes that read, “I used to be a plastic bag” swinging from every shoulder, the farmers market routine screams green. Bushels of fresh peaches, strawberries, blueberries, kale, rainbow chard, mushrooms, loaves of bread, eggs, fish, and oysters line the narrow maze of canopies.

“We’re in an era where we just want to be comfortable,” said Tam High science teacher Lyanne Abreu, and that means shopping at the supermarket chains such as Safeway or Whole Foods.

What many don’t realize is that shopping at large corporate stores largely funds the transportation, packaging, and labor costs from around the world. “Every time someone touches the food, the price goes up,” explained Janet Brown of All Star Organics, a company providing produce at the Sunday Marin Farmers Market. When you buy locally, the food is close to your neighborhood, thus a lower transportation, packaging, and labor cost to pay.

“There’s no other way to build a better food system. To encourage food closer to home, people have to support the farmers growing it,” said Brown. Much less energy is spent for the preparation and set up of the Marin Farmers Market than for commercial businesses and it benefits everyone who can find food at a much lower cost. Most businesses at the market are from Marin County.

“Cooling is energy. Transporting is energy. Packaging is energy,” said Brown. Reducing the amount of energy it takes to provide the people with their supplies creates less stress on the environment, and it is a constant cycle with local products.

As the Marin Farmers Market is open to all ages, Tam students enjoy sharing their experiences of the open air market. “I like the atmosphere at farmers markets,” said junior Michael Lowe.

“Even if the market is in the heart of the city, I feel like I’m in the middle of the countryside,” explained junior Isabel Janetos. “Everybody knows each other because it’s a weekly thing. It’s definitely a friendly vibe,” said senior Zoe Arthur.

Brown said, “There’s value in meeting a farmer. They’re like unicorns. We all know what they look like, but we’ve never seen one.”

There are many local farmers markets to enjoy, new and old.

If you have the time, be sure to visit the seasonal Gateway Shopping Center Farmers Market in Marin City, the weekly market in the Veterans Memorial Auditorium parking lot, held every Thursday, the Tam Valley Farmers Market on Tuesdays and the newly opened Mill Valley Farmers Market on Fridays.