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Locally Grown Vegetables at Farmers Markets – Did The Produce Come From Some Alley Way Garden?

What is agriculture? In the United States where agriculture is a huge industry with 10s or 1000s of square miles of farmland which is properly irrigated and run by either corporate farms or large family farms, we understand the ag business. Yes, that is agriculture. But when you really stop to think about it agriculture is just the growing of produce for human consumption. And it’s been going on for tens of thousands of years. What if I told you that much of the produce that you buy at local farmers markets comes from personal gardens, food which isn’t grown with near the care as a large farm?

Not long ago, I went to a farmers market in Los Angeles, in the city. As I was walking around and looking at what people had to sell, there was a lady there, who showed a picture of her garden, which consisted of an alleyway behind her house where she grew fruits and vegetables right there in the city. She was quite proud of what she had grown, but off to the side in some of the pictures I noticed that the alleyway was filled with trash, dumpsters, and even illegally dumped household chemicals and old motor oil.

Who is to say that that soil is not completely contaminated? Who is to say that she is using the correct fertilizer, pesticides, or anything else? No one is monitoring the produce she is growing on the property which she probably doesn’t even own, it looked to be as if it was city property, and an easement way for the trash trucks to drive between. Indeed, I got to thinking about this and I was doing a little bit of research. It appears that many folks have come to the United States, and they grow their vegetables just as they did in the countries they came from.

They don’t see anything wrong with this, and they are making a little extra money for their household by selling some of the excess produce. In a way they are farmers too and are doing what little they can with what little they have. But I ask you; is that really agriculture? Is that really what we think of when we consider the produce we wish to buy?

She indicated to me that everything she sold was organic, but if that is organic, I am slightly worried, not for myself because I didn’t buy anything from her, but for human health in general, and all the other shoppers at the farmers market that day. And since she is a regular, she is selling produce every week. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.


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