First of all thank you so much for all the kind notes, emails and comments about my new job here and on Facebook. I am very excited about this opportunity!
Summer time is a great time to get outside and visit a farmer’s market. I was walking downtown on Day 192 when I came across a small farmer’s market near Penn Quarter in DC. Near the corner of 8th & H Streets was stand with a yellow tent with the name Endless Summer Harvest on it. I decided to wander over and find out what exactly the folks at Endless Summer Harvest were all about.
- The water stays in the system and can be reused- thus, lower water costs
- It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety- thus, lower nutrition costs
- No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system
- Stable and high yields
- Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container’s mobility
The main disadvantage of hydroponic systems is that great caution must be taken to control the growth of salmonella due to the high humidity environment coupled with the presence of fertilizers.
Anyway, I got to meet two great people who were working at the stand: Cassandra and Zack. Day 192’s recipients met while studying biology at James Madison University. Cassandra works full-time at the Alliance to Save Energy and helps Endless Summer Harvest out on Thursdays at the farmer’s market. Zack, a 21-year-old JMU student, has worked at Endless Summer Harvest since high school.
I asked the two of them what they were going to do with the $10 and they said that they were going to donate it to a group that works to stop mountaintop removal for coal mining purposes. I am trying to find the exact organization and when I do I will post it here. There are lots of negative environmental effects of this practice. My new employer, the World Wildlife Fund, has this to say about it on their website:
In West Virginia and other Appalachian states – in one of the most biologically diverse temperate regions of the world – mountaintops are torn apart to gain access to low-sulfur coal lying underneath. The leftover rock and earth is dumped into nearby valleys and streams. These practices threaten songbirds and other wildlife dependent on large tracts of interior forest, and the mussels, fish, crayfish, and invertebrates found in the streams. Hundreds of miles of streams have been buried by the dumping of such wastes in the past, in an ecoregion that WWF has identified as being globally outstanding.
I enjoyed meeting Cassandra and Zack. They opened the door to a new world to me, the vendor community at farmers markets. They seem more like partners than competitors. “The fruit people do really well,” Zack says with a little bit of envy, “but we all help one another out.” While I was talking to them several other stands stopped by to see if they could use some left over product that they had.
7pm came around and they started to pack up. I was impressed at how quickly they tore down and got everything packed up. Cassandra wasn’t scared to get her hands dirty either. She didn’t hesitate to pick up the huge coolers they use and load the van.
Note: The Penn Quarter Farmers Market is administered by Freshfarm Markets and is located at the north end of 8th St. NW, between D and E Streets. According to a representative of the organization, it is open every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) from April 1 – Dec. 23rd from 3pm – 7pm.