January 02, 2009

Sustainability Resolutions

2009

Every year, the farmers and food purveyors at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market take steps toward becoming more sustainable. Here are just a few of the changes in the works for 2009:

  • 2009 marks a new year and a new creamery for St. Benoit Yogurt, which just opened a facility in Sonoma County’s Two Rock Valley. The creamery is now located on the farm where the cows are raised, putting an end to the need to transport milk and reducing the fossil fuel used in the process. According to owner Benoît de Korsak, the new creamery will also recycle the water it uses in the yogurt-making process to keep the surrounding pastures green during the dry summer months.
  • This spring, Hodo Soy Beanery will launch operations at a new certified organic production facility in Oakland (while Hodo has always used organic soy beans, their products are not yet certified). The new facility will allow Hodo to make more tofu, which owner Minh Tsai says fits in well into Hodo’s larger goal of bringing organic Asian products to mainstream consumers.
  • Star Route Farms is planning to switch to more permanent boxes for their deliveries – since waxed cardboard isn’t recyclable. Owner Warren Weber says they also plan to cut down on water use by expanding their drip irrigation system. The bad news: Star Route will not be increasing its use of solar electricity this year as planned, but will instead be replacing the 26 solar panels that were recently stolen from their Bolinas location.
  • Redwood Hill Farm will be installing a new lighting system that will include motion sensors, timers, and more energy efficient lights, reducing the electricity used to light their facility by 70%.The company is also working with their yogurt cup manufacturers on a cup made from less plastic that they hope to begin using this year.
  • Allstar Organics is known for growing many varieties of heirloom tomatoes.  However, after losing the bulk of their 2008 crop to two different summer freezes, farmersJanet Brown and Marty Jacobson will be planting fewer tomatoes this year and more cold-resistant foods, like greens and peas, as a way of adapting to a less predictable climate.
  • Happy Quail Farms plans to begin using radiant heat in the greenhouses where they grow their cucumbers and other vegetables as a way to use less energy.
  • Far West Fungi will also be retrofitting their heating system — and switching to more efficient gas-based system — to keep their mushrooms warm this winter. 
  • Jesse Kuhn from Marin Roots Farm will begin leasing 20 more acres, which will allow him to expand the amount of organic produce he provides to his customers.
  • Eatwell Farm is focused on reducing their fossil fuel use on the farm and energy use in general. This year, farmer Nigel Walker says his goal is to replace his farm pickups with electric trucks. He also hopes to eventually run the majority of his remaining vehicles on recycled biodiesel made by his own on-farm processor (right now around 30-35% of the fuel he uses for his delivery trucks and tractors is biodiesel, but he hopes to bring that number up to 70-80% in the near future). 

Learn more: Last year, CUESA took an important step in developing both a Sustainable Agriculture Framework and Sustainable Vendor Framework, as a way to inspire our market sellers, educate consumers, and guide our vision for the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and our programs. Stay tuned for more, but for now you can read the complete frameworks here >

About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »