Farmers markets have become an integral part of a growing sustainable food movement in America. The ability to access locally grown food is a huge blessing for the health of our bodies, the earth, and our communities. In Santa Barbara, we LOVE our farmers markets, which overflow with fresh abundance all year round. We love all our local farmers and support them as much as we can. Today we want to give a special shout out to one of our favorite stands at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market: Earth Trine Farms.
Founded by "B.D." Robert Dautch, who began growing organic veggies way back in the day (like Isla Vista in the 70's kind-of-a-day), Earth Trine Farms has been part of our local Farmers Market since it began. Committed full-time to the family-run operation, B.D. has been farming his land in Ojai and Carpinteria for over 30 years. He, his wife, and their four children are well known in the community for their kindness, intelligence, and commitment to the community. Throughout their childhood, all members of the family could regularly be spotted helping on the farm and at the weekly farmers markets in the Santa Barbara/Ojai area.
Why Drishti cares about local farms: The importance of incorporating fresh produce into our daily diets can't be overemphasized. Whenever available or accessible, eating local and organic fruits and veggies is optimal, because the produce has likely been picked within a day or so. Local produce often tastes better because of its freshness, and it has a lower carbon footprint than veggies that have been shipped halfway around the world before they make it to your plate. When produce has to travel long distances, it usually has to be frozen and/or injected with dyes and other chemicals to ensure the goods look shelf-ready after traveling thousands of miles. Chemically-flavored and artificially colored produce is not only just weird(!) but it's also environmentally unsustainable in many ways.
The difference in taste and quality of fresh organic produce truly is worlds different than conventional produce. Other than the taste benefits and higher nutrient value of fresh produce, there are significant environmental and social benefits that we can each support by choosing organic and local produce when possible.
Three thoughts on organic local produce:
#1 Organic farmers do not pollute our water and soils with synthetic chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This means that the soils they till are chemical-free, which helps preserve the integrity and fertility of the soil. It also means that the run-off waters from their farms are not contaminated with these harmful substances known to cause a myriad of health issues in humans and animals.
#2 Organic smaller-scale farms use biodiversity as a natural means of keeping soil nutrient levels high. Massive mono-crop farms use huge swaths of land, and deplete soils at a much faster rate because of their reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to keep the land producing at high levels.
#3 Big farms are generally heavily subsidized by the government and owned by handful of mega agribusinesses. This means that the decision making power falls into the hands of a powerful CEOs, who leverage their influence when big decisions about land rights, water usage and labeling (among many other issues) are brought to the table.
If you haven't been to Earth Trine Farms stand, it is a must! you can usually spot this farm by the sign they hang (see above) and/or the abundance of herbs that they grow (more than any other stand at the market). If all else fails, just let your nose guide you to the lavender, sage and rosemary!