Water and Cloth

purchase wrapped raw food isolated

How does a simple idea overturn a negative trend in the world of fresh food?

How will this simple idea – preserving vegetables by storing them in damp cloth – reverse the trend of GM and/or petroleum-based plastic waste that is the current and  accelerating standard in fruit and vegetable marketing?  What will be the key to undoing big commercial food processors?  How do we resist and shift a practice which is in place simply because it is, in the very short run, more expedient, and therefore more profitable, to pack vegetables in one or another kind of polluting plastic?

We deserve something better than putting our food in a toxic and wasteful container that ends up as garbage.

Here’s a sad commentary on the state of things:

Packaging has a strong influence on consumer purchasing habits, according to a recent study from the Michigan State University School of Packaging.

The study found that shoppers prefer to purchase produce that comes in rigid, bio-based plastic containers with a long shelf life and a low price. For example, consumers will opt for sweet cherries in a rigid container rather than the loose ones in a bag, the study stated.”

Really? Are you kidding me? Are we now reduced to the non-choice between bad and worse?

Bio-based plastic containers? Do people not realize those “bio-based plastic containers” are made from GMO corn?

Well, actually, I didn’t know that until recently.  But here it is, straight from the Journal of Cleaner Production:

This analysis found that none of bio-based plastics currently in commercial use or under development are fully sustainable. Each of the bio-based plastics reviewed utilizes: genetically modified organisms for feedstock manufacture and/or toxic chemicals in the production process or generates these as byproducts, and/or co-polymers from non-renewable resources.”

The choice is between unsustainable, toxic plastic bags and GMO clamshells. Is that a choice? Really?

We deserve something better. We deserve to have our fruits and vegetables grown and cared-for after harvest in a way that doesn’t promote Monsanto or Exxon or Phony Green Bio-Corp and all that unnecessary waste.

How can this happen?

The first thing is that people can remove, as much as possible, the middlemen between them and their vegetables. They can do that by joining Community Supported Agriculture farms, buying their vegetables at Farmers Markets, starting or joining a local farm buying club, encouraging local produce to be carried in grocery stores, and of course, whenever possible, actually growing their own vegetables, which eliminates ALL middlemen!

Then it becomes a small and easy and happy step to begin the conversation with their farmer friends about how they would prefer to have their vegetables cared-for with cloth and water rather than packaged in plastic. Farmers can begin to use large bulk fabric bags in which to pack their vegetables after harvest. Their customers can bring their own re-useable bags to market and place the vegetables in those bags. Small, local-farmer buying clubs such as the one we have here in Eastport, Maine, can spring up ,and its customers can support farmers to re-use fabric bags rather than resorting to plastic.

This can happen. It’s not that hard, really. It begins by people grasping this idea, this very simple idea: cloth and water. People can incorporate this idea into their daily lives and take care of their food once they get it home. They can start to work with their farmers. And eventually they can ask the stores they shop in to offer them vegetables without the plastic garbage, without the “clamshells,” without the plastic wrap, without the ineffective, wasteful, and polluting packaging. At the checkout, they can, after they pay for their vegetables, unwrap and place those vegetables in reusable fabric bags or in their reusable shopping bags until they get home. They can leave the garbage at the store saying they don’t want it. They can do that quietly and kindly and with a smile. What would happen if people took such a simple and clear action?

Water and Cloth. It’s a really simple idea that could change one very ugly thing in the world into something beautiful: fresh vegetables, well cared for, every step from the farm to the table.

Categories: Sally Blog

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