Berkeley’s organic appeal

A vendors fresh and organic strawberries assembled in a recyclable basket to match the environmental feel of the market. Photo by Amina Sayeed

A vendor’s fresh and organic strawberries assembled in a recyclable basket to match the environmental feel of the market. Photo by Amina Sayeed

BERKELEY, Calif. — The Farmers’ Market has been a widely recognized alternative food system to the industrial food model since its opening day in May of 1987. Its vibrant community attracts visitors and gives locals a valuable go-to location. Some of the vendors have been there since the opening of this viable and largely organic market. Others are only now beginning to join the two-block market with the desire to be a part of the Bay Area’s developing ecological scene. As a local business, the Farmers’ Market is committed to supporting small-scale farmers. In order to keep the strict idea of selling organic and sustainable food, it is required for vendors to produce products that are at least 80 percent organic, in order to keep with the Berkeley Ecology Center’s standards. Additionally, all forms of genetically modified crops and pesticides are banned. Beyond the food, the market tries to stay environmentally conscious by eliminating all paper and plastic packaging.

An example of an original vendor is Redwood Hill Farm, a company that has held a stand at the market from the beginning. The dairy company  has been operating for the past 45 years, about 50 miles north of the market.

Market-goers Ian Rodgers and musician Chris Weir said they enjoy the friendly and accommodating environment of the market. Both have been coming weekly for close to three years, continuously drawn back to the “organic feel” the market provides. This feeling of local support and community fosters a healthy and beneficial atmosphere for musicians, vendors, and start up farms alike. this feeling makes the mission of sustainability that much easier to achieve.