In Mexico City, a new Earth Market!
Do you know who locavores are? They are people who make an effort to only buy food grown within a 100-mile radius. They have precise rules and the website www.locavores.com offers "Guidelines for Eating Well", listing priorities if locally grown products are not available: If not locally produced, then organic. If not organic then family farm, if not family farm, then local business...
Founded in the United States during economic good times, the movement was a forerunner for recent developments and has maintained its momentum. Locavores not only predated the philosophy of a short distribution chain, they also inspired the organizers of a small market in Mexico City which is close to our hearts.
The Mercado el 100 takes its name from the number of miles within which produce must be sourced and has a slogan which sounds very familiar to us: Healthy, Tasty, Fair and Local. With values like these it was an obvious candidate for inclusion in the family of Earth Markets. The El 100 food market has an important objective: to help food producers create a local network where they can sell their produce at a fair price and enable consumers to be sure of the origin of what they eat. Extremely fresh produce and a grower certification system have not only earned the market a place within the Earth Market network but are also inspiring similar initiatives in other parts of the city.
One fascinating example is the Mercado de Treque, which is held once a month in the heart of the city. It enjoys significant public support and had over 20,000 visitors in 2012, all ready to queue up with their non-organic waste. Yes, that's right: At this eco-barter market, you pay with glass, paper, plastic and aluminum. In exchange you receive green points which can be used to buy local products from the city's federal district-so zero food miles.
This initiative has had impressive environmental benefits. In three years, hundreds of thousands of tons of solid waste have been collected, separated and recycled.
Is it just a drop in the ocean? Well, it seems that the people of Mexico City are keen to improve the city's prospects by creating alternative approaches to consumption in one of the world's largest conurbations, something which would have been difficult to imagine a short time ago.
Are you interested in knowing how the guide to good locavores continues?