WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Wolfville Farmers’ Market has set a new trend for people to follow that is popular with both its consumers and the environment.
The market hosted its Zero Waste Day Feb. 2 and encouraged all shoppers to use its dishes – plates, bowls, mugs and cutlery – as they purchased food, or to bring their own thermoses and water bottles in lieu of disposable containers.
But it’s something that goes beyond their one-day event, says market communications manager Corinna Paumier. The market hosted the event to showcase its continuing waste reduction and proper sorting of the materials it does produce – something Paumier says it is committed to, as a “community hub.”
“As the market’s pushing forward as a pillar in the community, sustainability is a really big part of continuing to be that community centre, so it’s important we do as much as we can,” she says, noting the market's wall of mugs, plates and cutlery many already use during Wednesday market suppers and Saturday morning snacks.
“Because this is a place many people meet, it makes sense to have these dishes for community to use.”
The trend is one that many like market vendor Heidi Onyschuk, who has participated in the market with her ‘Heidi’s Beads ‘N’ Buns’ jewelry business for 17 years, is glad to see gaining traction.
Onyschuk says not only does the day “help keep coffee cups and other food waste out of landfills,” it also shows how committed Wolfville and surrounding community is to sustainability.
“It’s so nice to see how everyone is working with it, both buying into it and supporting it – like there are people who volunteered to help provide and collect dishes people are using today,” she says.
Paumier says the practice is also trending outside the market, with many consumers paying attention to reusing and recycling materials and become increasingly aware of general waste reduction practices – trends she sees on social media that she has dubbed “a growing popular consciousness.”
“Those are the things that get the most attention on our social media. The difference between a regular post and another that is about zero-waste or sustainability is 1 to 100 – people are really latching on to it,” she says.
Market customer Henry Hoeksma lives in the Gaspereau area, and says he attends the market “each and every weekend.”
He says while he normally tries to remember to bring his reusable coffee thermos, he remembered today because of the specific event and thinks the idea is “obviously good” as it encourages people like him to remember to reuse.
“I’m very keen on this market, and what it does. I think it’s great to have events like this,” he says.
“I always want to bring my mug, but I have to actually remember to. And today, I remembered because of this.”