Student Engagement in Climate Justice

Fewer Plastics for Lent 2023 Week 3: Produce

Mar 6, 2023

two men hold produce at outdoor market

By Katie Evans, PLTS Green Justice Seminary Team

This week, we continue talking about simple plastic swaps and look specifically at options for produce! 

On Saturday, I explored the farmer’s market that happens every week on Center Street. Talking with vendors and walking through the rows of produce was a great way to start my Saturday. It felt like a spiritual practice in and of itself. While I might not always have time to stroll through the farmer’s market, I think it will be a practice that I will add into my schedule. After I went to the market, I went over to Trader Joe’s to compare the prices of the produce I had bought. 

Item: Farmers Market  Trader Joe’s 
Spinach $5.00 $3.00
Cauliflower $3.50 $3.00
Apples $5.00 bag  $3.00 bag
Carrots  $4.00 $0.99

As seen above, the prices at the farmers market are a little more expensive. I would be interested in how the prices compare as we continue into the warmer months. The important thing for me was walking through Trader Joe’s with a new intentional lens focused on plastic. Once I noticed it, I felt like it was everywhere. Every single produce item above was wrapped or packaged in single use plastic, while I came back from the farmers market with zero plastic. I think this points to an important point to keep in mind through this Lenten practice. While individuals can make swaps in their day-to-day lives, corporations contribute massively to the use of plastics. 

When I was at the farmers market, I got to talk to a representative from the Ecology Center. In Berkeley, #1 PET plastics are recycled domestically. All other plastics are shipped overseas. Currently, they are being sent to a facility in Mexico though the location shifts approximately every quarter. You can learn more about recycling in Berkeley here. 

Although the farmers market was a little more expensive, I found that the experience brought me a lot of joy. In the future, I am going to try and find ways to save on other groceries so I continue this trip each week!

Each week during Lent the Green Justice Seminary Team will be sharing one step you can take to reduce your impact on Creation as a Lenten practice and will be taking these steps alongside the rest of the seminary. Thank you for joining us on this Lenten journey to reduce our plastic consumption and practice loving our neighbors impacted by plastic production and plastic waste around the world.