August 28, 2010

Many of you have been following the articles written by our 10-year-old environmental blogger, Alana G. We first met Lana back in June, when she wrote to me about how distressed she was about the oil spill in the Gulf, asking what she could do. I replied that although she might not be able to directly influence what happens in the Gulf, she could decide to act environmentally and be a voice for Earth in her community.

I also offered her a chance to write for this blog, suggesting that perhaps she would write three or four stories over the summer, since there is a lot of work involved in actually doing the activities before you can write about them.

Alana surpassed all expectations. She formed her friends and their families into a group called Kids Today for a Better Tomorrow. She landed her own segment, "Alana’s Corner," on a local radio show. She even spoke in front of her City Council and convinced the local Chamber of Commerce to support her group’s activities. And today we are publishing her final blog posting of the summer - her NINTH article!

Alana has asked if she can continue to do an occasional piece of writing for us during the school year, and her mother supports that (as long as she keeps up with her fifth grade schoolwork). I would certainly like to continue to follow Alana’s activities. How about you?

- Seymour

Hello fellow Shipmates,

I have a question for you. Have you ever been to a "Farmers Market?" Maybe there is one close to your home or maybe you have visited one while on a vacation or road trip. If you have that is great but for those of you who haven’t been to one there is no need to worry. Alana G was on scene. grin For those of you who might not even know what a Farmers Market is, I got the low down on these secret markets. 

  Alana with clipboardI grabbed my special clipboard and jotter (all good reporters have to carry around their reporter stuff) and bravely ventured out into the unknown…the place where animals roam and food is plentiful…. Okay, Okay…I just wanted it to sound exciting. Te he. grin I went out and paid a special visit to my local farmers’ market to do some investigating which by the way isn’t secret at all. I thought they were secret markets that only come around once a week so they could hide from the super market giants… but apparently, they have permission to hold these special gatherings. LOL. Silly me.  wink

It was sooo cool. I met many new friends and I learnt so much. Here is what I learned. Farmers Markets are usually held weekly in some form of outdoor setting like a parking lot or public center. It is where a bunch of local farmers and vendors come together to serve the public directly without you having to go into a store to buy things. Awesome!!! They had me at "Outdoors."

Farmers’ Markets are known for selling locally grown and very fresh produce. Some people think that farmers’ markets allow farmers to pick produce when it’s at its best flavor, preserving the vitamin and mineral content of the fresh produce…which for us kids is great because we totally need our vitamins if we want to grow up to be healthy and strong. But what’s even better is since they sell locally grown produce, it doesn’t travel as far to get to your kitchen table, which means less miles driven which then means we use less fossil fuels. A whole lot less fuel, which is "Totally Sweet" since we are trying to lower our carbon footprints.

It’s really helpful to the farmers if we buy from their markets because it helps the farmers stay in business and also preserves natural resources. I think it’s important to preserve farmland because I learned it’s good for the health of the environment and the water supply. According to the American Farmland Trust, sustainable and managed farms conserve soil and clean water and provide a habitat for wildlife. Plus, the markets provide a great place for the community to get together, talk and meet new people. I met a new friend named Javier. 

Alana & Javier

He is a farmer who was at the market selling all kinds of delicious fruits and vegetables. He had out a lot of samples for everyone to try, which of course I made sure to taste each one for you. grin What kind of reporter would I be to not try the goods? Man…were they delicious. He had the sweetest strawberries I had ever eaten. My mom and I bought a whole bunch to take home. Yummy. Now every week we go see Javier and his delicious fruits and veggies. I love Wednesdays.

Speaking of sweet…a lot of the farmers sell my very favorite form of produce known as ORGANIC produce. To me organic means sweeter and better tasting produce while holding off on the poisonous pesticides but that isn’t the actual definition that is just mine. Javier taught me that you should always verify that you are buying true organic produce and suggest that you ask the retailer or salesperson to see their Certificate of Organic Production given to them by the U.S.D.A (United States Department of Agriculture) once they have passed very strict regulations. The U.S.D.A verifies that they are producing their crops without the use of any pesticides and many other rules too. So, if you ask to see this certificate and they refuse to show you, then most likely they aren’t being truthful. Javier said that most organic farmers would be more then happy to show you their certificates because they are very proud of them. I thought that was great info. Thanks Javier.

'Organic' certificate

Farmers markets aren’t anything new or even a big secret like I had thought. They have been around for hundreds of years. In Peru they have always been considered traditional "Mercados" and in Asia they are considered street markets, so it isn’t just in the US these markets are popular. Growers all over the world gather weekly to sell their produce directly to the public with live entertainment; show and some even have animals. SO, if you get a chance you should ask your parents to take you to your local farmers’ market. Your taste buds will thank you for it. grin Take care my fellow Shipmates. Until next time…

Alana G

"Science Rules"

P.S Remember this is "OUR PLANET.OUR FUTURE!" Believe in yourself and each other. Together we can make a difference one small step at a time.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

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