Shopping at your local farmers market is a great step toward living a more sustainable lifestyle. The Kalamazoo Farmers Market team prioritizes and encourages sustainability in our marketplace. As a shopper, there are simple changes which could make your market experience more eco-friendly.

1. Bring your own reusable bags, including produce bags! These help you separate your goodies without needing to use any plastic bags. Always forget your bags? Stash a few in your car or bike bag so you never leave without them.

2. Support farmers with ecologically sound growing practices. Look for certifications like USDA Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, and MI Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. If you’re not sure about your favorite farmers’ growing practices, just ask them!

3. Bring your own reusable coffee mug and water bottle from home for buying coffee or drinking water at the market. Cups and bottles make up the bulk of our landfill bins. This waste is avoidable with a little help from shoppers.

4. Plan ahead and bring a fork and napkin in your market bag when you buy lunch at the market. No need to use a plastic fork one time (they aren’t even recyclable!)

5. Take time to sort your waste correctly. Start with compost, then recycling. Choose landfill as a last resort. Not sure where something goes? Ask a friend, fellow shopper, or the market office for help.

6. Walk, bike, bus, or carpool to the market. Lower your carbon footprint by choosing an alternative transportation method.

7. Bring a friend, and make a new friend! Make meaningful connections with your neighbors and build community resilience. We all succeed when we know we can rely on each other.