AIM is proud of its role in building viable local food systems. But in terms of how “green” our markets can be, we’ve got a ways to go. From transitioning off single-use plastic and paper bags to setting up composting programs in eight markets and three counties, AIM is committed to taking the steps toward more environmentally sound farmers markets. We need your help. Please check out our Customer Action Steps listed below and join us in taking simple steps toward a greener market place. Together we can create change.
AIM’s Green Goals
1. To create a zero waste marketplace, where reusable products are pervasive and biodegradable products have replaced plastics and are properly composted.
2. To encourage and educate customers to be more eco-conscious and support them with the tools to revolutionize their farmers market shopping experience.
3. To encourage and educate farmers and food purveyors to incorporate eco-friendly products into their business models.
4. To build partnerships with local environmental groups to increase public awareness and waste management organizations to implement an effective and eco-friendly waste stream.
Customer Action Steps
- B.Y.O.B. Bring your own bag
We estimate that over 1 million plastic bags are used at our Sunday Marin Farmers Market in a year. Please do your part – bring your own tote bag and produce bags. Be they cloth, mesh, recycled plastic, or simply plastic bags that you wash and reuse every week, every reusable bag makes a difference. We offer reusable produce and tote bags for sale at our market information booths.
- Reuse Containers
A basket of delicate strawberries fits perfectly in a quart yogurt container. Blueberries, cherry tomatoes, nuts, and dried fruit are also a nice fit. Bring back your egg cartons, berry baskets, and honey jars.
- Bring and reuse your own utensils
Avoid single use cutlery whenever possible.
- Bring and reuse your own beverage container
Travel mugs, glass jars, or water bottles are handy reusable alternatives to disposable coffee cups and water bottles.
- Voice your support for green business practices
Assure the farmers and food purveyors you frequent that you would support their transition to plastic bag alternatives and more environmentally friendly packing. These products inevitably cost more than single use plastics. Your support will ensure that the transition is positive and smooth.
- Get informed and share your knowledge
Learn about where our waste goes, the impacts of single use bags and packaging, and the green alternatives. Visit our Green Links and view MFM’s Greening Your Lifestyle brochure and Marin Sanitary’s Reality of Plastic display to get started.
AIM Action Steps
- Plastic Bag-Free Fairfax Farmers Market
The Fairfax Farmers Market is proud to be MAI’s first plastic bag-free market! Thanks to the Town of Fairfax’s Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance, which went into effect on May 4th, 2009 the Fairfax Farmers Market took the leap and went without plastic bags during the 2009 season. Farmers and food purveyors will be provided paper and compostable bags in place of plastic bags and market shoppers walked their talk and backed up their vote by remembering to bring their own bags – (B.Y.O.B.)!
- Composting in Hayward
The Hayward Farmers Market is partnering with the Hayward Community Garden to compost nearly 150 lbs of green waste every Saturday. It’s a win-win-win! Fertile compost is created for the garden which runs school programs for local schools, farm staff members drive lighter trucks home increasing their fuel efficiency, and productive organic matter is sent to a garden instead of the landfill.
- Plastic Education in Partnership with Green Sangha
Since Earth Day 2008, MAI has partnered with Green Sangha to inform people about the consequences of plastics, and to inspire and empower market shoppers to green their shopping experience. In 2009, Green Sangha joined AIM’s Eat Local 101 booth at the Sunday Marin Civic Center Farmers Market once a month to offer practical tips on how to take home their produce without all the plastic. Our partnership has been focused on education and has been integral in preparing our customers and farmers to transition away from single-use plastic bags. We are looking to send our plastic display on the road to our East Bay markets. If you are interested in assisting our educational efforts in Grand Lake, Hayward, or Newark please visit our Volunteer page for more information.
- Certified Green Business
In 2006, AIM (then MFM) became a Certified Green Business in Marin County. We consider the environmental impact of every element of our operations. At our office, we use: 100% recycled paper, energy efficient lighting systems, biodegradable soaps and cleaning fluids, and reclaimed water to flush our toilets. We make an effort to print all of our educational and marketing materials on 100% recycled papers with soy based inks. We enjoy our water in mugs rather than plastic bottles. At our market, we use recycled plastic trash bags, and all glass, plastic, and aluminum is recycled thanks to Marin Sanitary’s single-stream recycling program.
- Green Wednesdays
AIM is proud to partner with Sustainable Fairfax, transforming every Wednesday at the Fairfax Farmers Market into a Green Wednesday. In addition to enjoying the freshest foods of the season, Fairfax residents take home practical lessons in how to shrink their environmental impact and increase their quality of life. From setting up bike racks before each market to making affordable reusable produce bags available to the public, Sustainable Fairfax has made significant contributions to creating a greener Fairfax Farmers Market.
- Exploring Viable Alternatives
AIM is continually exploring alternative systems and is open to collaborating with local community groups, businesses, and farmers market associations. If you have a bright idea and/or the energy to help us implement one, please let us know.