Hey Bay Area Peeps!
After writing my blog post Living a More Sustainable Life; 5 Simple Choices I Make I realised that it might be useful to compose a small list of food resources that I am positive about. These are all local and accessible to anyone in the Bay who wants to make more sustainable and healthy choices but may feel disconnected or stuck.
Check ’em out:
*At this time my aim is not to shock or disturb anyone with imagery or facts about the maltreatment of animals or climate change stats. Rather I want to reiterate the importance of making informed choices about the food that you are putting into your body, both for your own health and with consideration of the planet and animals involved in the cycle of food.*
1. Straus Family Creamery
Straus is a family-run business, with dairies and a creamery located in the Marin County area. It promises to produce organic, minimally processed dairy products. The pasture is made up of 500 acres of land for the animals. The cows are never treated with antibiotics or hormones, and are kept in a ‘closed herd’ in order to prevent infections. Their diet consists of grasses, silage, hay, and feeds that are 100% certificate organic & Verified Non GMO. The creamery’s electricity is powered using the cows’ manure and a methane digester. The majority of the wastewater is re-used to power the digester and to irrigate the land.
On top of that, Straus milk and creams are sold in glass bottles which can and should be returned to the place of purchase for re-use! The rest of their products seem to be packaged in recyclable and/or re-usable plastic and card packaging.
You can find Straus products at Monterey Market & Berkeley Bowl (see below) and hopefully a number of other markets! Leave a comment if you’ve found them in other places which are more mainstream.
As a vegetarian, who enjoys dairy too much to try to go vegan, I cannot recommend this business higher as a high quality, sustainable, ethical source for dairy products!
2. Judy’s Family Farm
Judy’s was the first certified organic egg producer in California, along with being an original cage-free farm. It is also located in Marin County. The chickens are raised from babies and well cared for during their growth. The barns are open-sided with curtains, and allows natural light to enter the space. The chickens are given 100% organic feed. The eggs are hand collected and are cleaned with ozone rinse (made up of oxygen and water) which is environmentally friendly and unharmful to consume.
Other local farmers are able to use some of the land to grow vegetables, with no herbicides or pesticides used. It’s truly a family and community run farm, so purchasing these eggs are not only better for your body but also support the local community!
3. Monterey Market
Monterey Market is a “village-based” market where all fruits and veggies are loose. There are optional plastic bags available (in the place of pre-packaged produce) which I’ve collected and like to re-use, or choose not to use at all. They offer a lot of produce choices sourced from California (along with some Internationally) – this is great because it gives you the option to make choices that have spent less time/money/energy being shipped. You can also collect grains, dried fruits, sweets, flour, nuts, etc. by weight from large buckets – re-use your bags to collect them and you are reducing waste of repeated packaging that you’d find in normal supermarkets!
4. Berkeley Bowl Marketplace
Berkeley Bowl is an independent local supermarket. It makes efforts to source high quality produces and other foods. You can buy a range of bulk foods there, without the unnecessary and wasteful packaging found in regularly buying small amounts in larger supermarkets. There is a health and beauty department which offers natural products. There is also a pharmacy which holds homeopathic remedies, vitamins, herbal formulas, etc. It’s a bit pricey, but overall it is an excellent place for sourcing more sustainable, healthy and ethical products than your typical grocery chain!
5. Ecology Center Farmer’s Markets
The Ecology Center Farmer’s markets source California-grown produce and farm-processed foods. All of these markets are zero-waste zones – this means that waste is either composted or recycled, and the production of waste is minimal from the start. People are encouraged to bring their own cotton bags to take produce home in, and compostable bags are sold for 25 cents each. All packaging and utensils used are also compostable.
In addition to this, farmers will accept WIC and EBT as part of the CalFresh Programme. Attending a farmer’s market is a great way to directly interact with your local farmers and pick up some yummy, healthy products whose source you are 100% sure of.