Eco-Friendly Changes to Make Today

How to Live a More Sustainable Life: Eco-Friendly Changes to Make Today

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Guest Post by Neil Stawski of climatewise | Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

In October 2018, a United Nations scientific panel released a climate change report with a somber prediction: We have only 12 years to slash global carbon emissions 45 percent in order to keep global warming at a maximum of 1.5 degrees C.  Actions need to be taken by large corporations — especially in the energy and mining sectors. However, we too can do our part starting at home. Making small and sustainable improvements can help reach that goal and encourage better practices outside of our homes. Here are some changes you can make to help reach that goal.

Start at Home

For most, the bulk of our carbon footprint is comprised of the energy we use to power our homes. By making some small and sustainable home improvements, you can reduce emissions while enjoying the added benefit of lower power bills. One of the easiest things you can do is Read the full story »

Care for Your Community, Change the World

Last month, inspired by Jack Johnson’s change-making generosity with All At Once Org, we organized a humble neighborhood clean-up with Local First Arizona that exceeded expectations.IMG_2438 Read the full story »

Double Your Impact + Help Us Grow

Our organization is teaming up with Jack Johnson on his 2018 Tour and All At Once, a social action network connecting nonprofits with people who want to become active in their local and world community. All At Once comes to life online at www.AllAtOnce.org and at the Jack Johnson concerts where you can get educated, get inspired, and connect face-to-face with us and other local and national non-profits.

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Help us raise funds!  Jack Johnson’s charity is matching donations contributed to us at the show or directly to our organization until September 15, 2018, up to a total of $2500.  Help us raise funds!  Make a contribution and your money will be doubled by the Johnson Ohana Foundation!

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Locally Sourced + Market Approved

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One of our favorite things at the Market is the fact we get to meet the growers and producers, ask questions and learn how our foods and products are grown and made.  Traceability is important, we should know where our food comes from just the same we like to know it’s organic.  We should be able to see and understand the food chain and what we’re buying and consuming.

Look our new for the Locally Sourced badge at the Market! 

Vendors offering products featuring more than 50% locally-sourced ingredients are being awarded “Phoenix Public Market Approved” badges.  In addition to the nutritional and health benefits, choosing these products keeps even more money in the local economy, leading to a healthier sustainable community.

We have power as consumers and where we choose to use our spending power makes an impact! When you choose to shop local you support.

We love sharing all of the wonderful reasons shopping local is so valuable to our community! Want to read more?  Check out these past blog posts: Why Shop Local?
The Importance of Shopping Local Growers and Producers

Plastic Bag Recycling

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You can now recycle your plastic bags at the Phoenix Public Market! Find our plastic bag collection bin near the Information Booth. Feel free to drop off clean and dry plastic films such as: Grocery/carryout bags, newspaper delivery bags, dry cleaning bags and department store bags.

Those plastic grocery bags can have more than one life when you place them in the recycling bin. Shoppers can reuse bags while shopping at the Market. In addition, plastic bags can be recycled into new materials. The process involves chipping the bags into pellets. While pellets can then be reprocessed into new bags, they will most likely be shipped to companies to be manufactured into plastic lumber.

Prepare your bags for recycling:

  1. Remove anything inside the bags, such as receipts, stickers or crumbs. All these items will contaminate your bag load.
  2. Keep a bag collection bin in your house, such as one big garbage bag for all bags. Since they compact easily, you should be able to fit 50 to 100 plastic bags in one garbage bags.

Do your part to reduce and reuse waste in our community.
Help facilitate consumer choice while reducing environmental contamination!  You can also find wonderful Market bags to purchase at the Market and use week after week to fill with your favorite Market goodies!

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Passion Found Under a Palm Frond

Recently, we heard of the devastating passing of Downtown Phoenix community member Monika Woosley. She left behind a powerful legacy that can only intrigue and inspire. Monika founded Hip Veggies in 2012 as an outlet for her passion for community, food, art, and outreach. Through Hip Veggies, among many subjects, she taught us about foraging in Phoenix; about how easy and fulfilling it can be and how important it is to our Arizonan culture.


This weekend, we honor her by digging into some foraging knowledge imparted by her foraging friend and colleague, The Green Man himself, Andrew Pisher. Andrew grew up in upstate New York and moved to Phoenix 13 years ago in search of sun. He is an entrepreneur to the core, always thinking up ways to embrace Mother Nature (literally–this is a man who seriously loves to climb trees) with his certification in urban farming and ongoing studies in nutrition.

Treelation, his tree trimming and removal company, works with residents through his Foraging Fanatics service to make use of excess from trees that bear edibles or have medicinal properties. Many residents are overwhelmed by the harvest, leaving it misunderstood, unwanted, and disregarded. With Foraging Fanatics, Andrew is able to accrue pounds and pounds of excess fruits, herbs, legumes, and nuts native to our state. He then sells that harvest in bulk through his website, thus making would-be rotted or dried out trash profitable. Andrew’s business, and foraging in general, is a win-win for our ecosystem and its inhabitants. 

Read the full story »

“Slow the Fork Down”

slow foodThe Phoenix Division of the Slow Food Movement is gaining traction in our community, where the focus is placed on local culinary heritage and social justice. The Slow Food Movement, globally and nationally, aims to deepen the public’s awareness surrounding our food systems and how they affect just about every aspect of our livelihood on this planet. A daunting task, surely, so let’s start with lunch.

Slow Food Phoenix’s most recent project is entitled “Feeding the Future,” during which attendees will sample diverse dishes made by a bold lineup of beloved chefs, including Charleen Badman of Scottsdale’s FnB and Eddie Hantas of East Valley favorite Hummus Xpress. There’s a twist to this sampling event, though: each chef’s budget will reflect the current National School Lunch Program (NSLP) budget, and will be served in the style of an American school lunch.

Read the full story »

Switching to Soap Nuts

Soap nuts, also known as soap berries, are a natural alternative to store-bought laundry detergents full of chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients. Grown on Sapindus trees, these berry-like fruits produce a soap called saponin, a natural surfactant.  The shell absorbs water and releases the saponins which circulate in the wash water, freeing dirt, grime, and oils from clothing.

Soap nuts can also be used to clean dishes, windows, cars, jewelry, you and your pet! Because they’re 100% natural, they are biodegradable and therefore completely safe for septic systems, gentle on sensitive skin, including baby clothes, and are also antimicrobial.  No need to fret, soap nuts are free of pesticides, as insects are naturally repulsed by saponin so there is no need to use them in cultivation.

Read more about Soap Nuts on Sustainable Baby Steps and learn how to use this natural product to wash clothes, dishes, windows and even your hair!  Pick up your own satchel from Recycled City on Saturdays at the Market!

Earth Day 2017

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The Open Air Market at the Phoenix Public Market is a program of Community Food Connections (CFC), a 501c3 non-profit organization. CFC creates a downtown community gathering place by supporting small farmers and businesses that strengthen sustainable food systems and produce healthy products for the local community.

Sustainability is the overarching theme in this community driven food system. Farmers engage in sustainable farming practices to produce healthy food to sustain the local community, who in turn provide the money necessary to sustain the farmers. Each shares in the success of the other in a mutually beneficial relationship that has become a model for sustainability.

Farmers who choose to use sustainable practices face a challenging economic climate dominated by large, corporate farms. Many find they cannot compete with the massive volume, low market prices, and government subsidies enjoyed by large operations. Farmers markets offer small and mid-sized farmers a low-barrier entry point to develop and establish a thriving business free from the overhead necessary to sell in large retail outlets. But just as important, farmers markets create a space where the focus of food is on quality and farming practices rather than price alone.

Each year, more and more customers are drawn to farmers markets due to an increasing demand for natural and organic food.  This upward trend depicts a rising consciousness among customers who are concerned with not just what they eat, but how it is produced.

Farmers selling at markets minimize the amount of waste and pollution they create.  On average, food travels over 1,000 miles from the point of production to the retail store.  In contrast, the Phoenix Public Market houses farmers growing within a 50 mile radius of our Market!  Many use certified organic practices, reducing the amount of synthetic pesticides and chemicals that pollute our soil and water. A growing number are also adopting other low-impact practices, such as on-site composting, that help mitigate climate change and other environmental issues.

How you can help reduce waste:

Reduce Food Waste: Most supermarkets refuse to carry cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables, which means many of them end up rotting in landfill where they release methane gas, a green-house gas more potent than CO2. That ugly produce accounts in part for the 40 percent of food wasted in the US. At the farmer’s market, the sizes and shapes of food vary. And some vendors offer a discount for not-so-pretty—yet organic—produce.  So don’t be afraid to shop blemished produce.

Reduce Plastic Use:  Another aspect of farmers’ markets that is usually overlooked is that you can control the packaging. To be more eco-friendly you can politely decline the plastic bag, or reuse last week’s produce bags by bringing them back to the market with you. Reducing the use of plastic bags and plastic packing wraps can greatly reduce your carbon footprint.  Packaging is one of the most disposable things in everyone’s daily life and it often seems hard to curtail.  Worldwide almost 2 million bags are used each minute, which figures out to be a trillion bags each year.  If you consider the life cycle of the plastic bag, the energy consumed, the CO2 emitted and consider that most plastic bags are made overseas and distributed globally; a whole new picture of consumption starts to emerge.

The real question is do you need a bag at all? This is where being an eco-friendly consumer can factor in. Do you need to put all of your different kinds of fruits and vegetables in their own plastic bag? Can you reuse your produce bags from last week?

Discover more on Earth Day | Saturday, April 22nd

Earth Day theme for 2017 is Environmental & Climate Literacy.

Read the full story »

Sustainability at the Market: Fiscalini Cheese

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Fiscalini Cheese is committed to producing the highest quality, best tasting cheese in the world and is always a popular destination at the market. Whether you are looking for traditional cheddar or a wine-soaked “Purple Moon,” you can find it (and everything in between) here. Although many market-goers are familiar with Fiscalini cheese, many are unaware of the sustainability and food safety measures they take to successfully produce their final product.

Four generations of the Fiscalini family have lived on their farm, and they hope all of the future generations can do the same. This is one reason they ensure all of their agricultural practices are entirely sustainable. Their philosophy “is to harvest and forage our land to feed our cattle” and then “give back to the earth in natural form to keep it productive.” One of the most interesting aspects of their sustainable farming techniques is that that fertilizer they use is almost entirely made up of manure from their cows, doing their part to reduce carbon emissions.

In 2009, Fiscalini Cheese built and began using a methane digester. In short, this is a product that converts waste products into renewable resources. All of their waste that would typically be shipped off to a landfill is instead repurposed. Livestock manure, leftover feed, and whey from the cheese plant are all recycled into the methane digester. In turn it produces electricity and heat, with enough remaining to power over 300 homes.

-Sydney Schutkowski, Sustainability Intern