farmers market earth day

Each year the Sierra Vista Farmers Market theme for Earth Day changes, and this year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth.”

This Thursday is the special Earth Day event, and the Sierra Vista Farmers Market opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. as usual.

April 22 began just like every other day in 1970, except that it wasn’t like every other day. It was Earth Day! It marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

It was the end result of a yearlong idea by a junior Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson (January 8, 1963 – January 3, 1981), to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. He enlisted the help of a conservation minded Republican Congressman, Pete McCloskey (December 12, 1967 – January 3, 1983) as co-chair and they together recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist to organize college campus teach-ins about the environment. They chose April 22, 1970 as the jump off point as it fell between Spring Break and Final Exams, hoping to maximize the greatest number of student participation.

That special day inspired about 10% of the population at that time, 20 million Americans, to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against all of what 150 years of industrial development progress had brought to the impact of health.

Each year the theme for Earth Day changes and this year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth.”

As part of that effort, the Sierra Vista Farmers’ Market has put together a bunch of good time for the vendors and visitors alike. This will be a family day for sure, so pack up the kids and head on down to Veterans Park for a day of fun. Be sure to bring a cooler for food purchases so you don’t have to hurry home, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the festivities.

Some of the highlights include BASA (Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture) bringing mesquite flour (for sale) and mesquite cookies (as a treat) along with sun ovens. BASA, for those unfamiliar with them, has a mission as stated on their webpage, “to help create and expand local sustainable food systems in Southern Arizona that promote the health and well-being of the natural world and the people who live here. Baja AZ is dedicated to educating the public on the importance of a sustainable food and agriculture system that is economically viable, environmentally sound, socially just, and humane.” If you have missed their hammer milling events in the past, you might want to stop by, get some of the mesquite flour, pick up a treat while you’re at it, and ask them questions about their hammer milling or sun oven demonstrations.

I have heard that Lisa Thompson, owner of Thunder Mountain Alpaca Ranch near the Coronado National Memorial, is bringing some of her alpacas to the market for this event. Not only will the kids enjoy visiting with the animals, we can only hope that Lisa will also bring some of the socks, gloves, hats, scarves, finger puppets and more that she makes from the fiber she shears from the alpacas every 12 to 18 months. For countless years, the alpacas have provided an environmentally sound fiber that keeps you warm when the temperatures dip. The alpaca fiber, once considered reserved only for royalty, is warmer, yet lighter than sheep’s wool. That is probably due to the fact that alpaca fiber has hollow cores which act as insulators, holding in body heat. This fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic since it contains none of the lanolin found in sheep’s wool. In case you didn’t know, that is where the “itch” in sheep’s wool comes from. For a good time, the whole family can enjoy, do stop by and pay a visit to her “stall” and say hi to the Alpacas.

Another great event happening will be at the Oasis Water Harvesting booth. Rick Weisberg, owner of Oasis Water Harvesting, http://oasisrainwaterharvesting.com/, remains dedicated to being a leader in water harvesting in Southern Arizona. From the beginning in 2005, Rick wanted to create a company that was focused solely on rain water harvesting. Since starting Oasis, he has continued to expand his knowledge and grow the business through hundreds of satisfied customers. Since then, he has delivered over 1.2 million gallons of rain water harvesting storage to southern Arizona customers. Stop by and talk to Rick about how you can capture some of the 19,000 or so gallons of water that fall from a 2,000-square foot roof each year here in Sierra Vista.

Borderlands Restoration Network (BRN), based out of Patagonia, AZ will be handing out small pollinator plants as part of their Native Plant Program. The BRN Native Plant Program works to promote and protect biodiversity and ecosystems in the Sky Islands, a region of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, by providing access to restoration-quality native plant materials. This region is considered a globally-significant biodiversity hotspot home to half of the bird species in North America and over 7,000 plant and animal species, including the last remaining jaguar in the United States.

As part of the event BRN is bringing along one of their partner organizations, Pollinator Corridors Southwest, known to themselves as “PoCo”, located here in Hereford. They will be handing out seed packets in conjunction with the pollinator plants from BRN. PoCo’s director, Karen LeMay continues a passion by collecting, processing, and packaging flowering garden plant seeds for the public. The purpose of which is to add to the nectar corridor. She also collects seeds to contribute to the Borderlands Restoration’s seed bank.

Stop by and pick up a plant and some seeds to help with their project. I particularly like a saying I found on the BRN website https://www.borderlandsrestoration.org/. It is at the bottom of one of their pages. It is a quote from Doug Tallamy, Bringing Home Nature, “It will be the plants that we use in our gardens that determine what nature will be like in 50 years”

While we are in the plant vein, Sierra Vista Community Gardens, http://www.svcommunitygardens.com/, will have demonstrations on how to make seed starter pots from newspaper. And if you are looking for plants such as strawberries, fig trees, flowers, tomatoes, black berries, or even vegetable bedding plants, then you are in luck as Ruth Lefever, Ruth’s Hen’s & Garden, will run an Earth Day Special.

Plan to have lunch at the Market. There will be quite a variety of meals to choose from such as hot dogs, nachos and pulled pork sandwiches from Big Woody’s, or also from the Lazy KJ Ranch. Maybe you are into kettle corn and a smoothie from Crazy Coyote. While you are walking around the market, pick up a Hibiscus lemonade from Queen Ceviche and some snacks from Sweets By Shelly, or maybe a little toffee or brittle from Sweet Arizona take your pick from Incredible Snacks or some truffles from Copper Canyon Designs, a little cotton candy from Bombshell Sweets or Papa Mikes’ Jerky. Wash it all down with a fresh hot cup of coffee from Café Cultiva.

Remember dinner from Sky Island/47 Ranch, Lasagna and More, or White Cane Sockeye Salmon. A little salsa from Cliff’s Salsa. Some mushrooms from Allred Family Fungi. Add your veggies from Backyard Gardening & Growing, The Lettuce Man’s Daughter, or the Triple J & R MicroFarm. Add some baked goods from Ginny’s Eclectic Kitchen, Celestial Breads, Farmer’s Daughter, Katerina’s-It’s Original Greek, McDonald Farm and don’t forget your milk, fruit, nuts, and honey from Golden Rule Dairy, SAS-Z Nuts, or Simmons Honey Ranchito.

To fill out the shopping list check out the great items at Ancestral Herbals, Desert Oasis Soap, In Stitches, Greenstone Pottery & Crafts, Migrant Shelter Workshop Carpentry, Jim Williams Woodworks, Sue’s Closet, Maggie’s Dog Treats & Accessories, Lucida Leather Jewelry, Patty’s Painted Horse Creations, Promise Farm LLC & Ash’s Amber, and Gourds Rock My Soul. I’m sure I probably missed someone, so please stop by and pay everyone a visit on this special day and let them know we care.

Many of the market vendors accept WIC Farmers Markets & Senior Farmers Markets Vouchers in exchange for fresh vegetables. SNAP vouchers can be also used at some of the vendors booths. You can use your EBT card at the info booth for SNAP vouchers and Double UP tokens (unlimited amount right now).

We are looking forward to seeing you all at this coming week’s market. For more information on all our vendors and the products they will be bringing, please see this week’s Farmers Market newsletter at www.sierravistafarmersmarkets.com. Also, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sierravistafarmersmarket/.

Submitted by “Uncle” Ralph Wildermuth