The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Category Archives: Farmers Markets

September 19, 2013

Plastic-Free on Kauai

We’re having a great time on Kaua’i (mosquito bites notwithstanding), and despite the ubiquitous polystyrene foam foodware, we’re discovering some great plastic-free resources.  Upon arrival at our hotel, the concierge handed us a list of farmers markets on the island.

There’s at least one for every day of the week, which means we never have to worry about plastic produce packaging because we brought our own bags.… Read the rest

June 23, 2010

Should We Worry About Little Plastic Produce Stickers?

In the comments on my post about toxic food packaging labels, the subject of fruit and vegetable labels came up, those little plastic stickers affixed to almost all grocery store produce these days so cashiers don’t have to memorize the codes.

Back in the day when I was a kid, produce didn’t come with stickers.  There were codes ink-stamped on some of the citrus, as I recall, but nothing like the plastic stickers we have today that are especially annoying when attached to soft-skinned fruit like ripe pears and peaches.  Don’t you hate when the skin rips off with the sticker?

But what about the adhesive and the tiny bit of plastic the sticker represents? Is it something that should keep us awake at night?  My feeling is that no, it should not, and before you crucify me, please let me explain why.

Stickers Differentiate Organic from Non-organic

Devised by the International Federation for Produce Standards, the PLU (Price Look-Up) … Read the rest

January 22, 2010

Finally! My Temescal Farmers’ Market’s Gone Plastic-Free.

They said they’d do it, and now Urban Village Farmers Markets has finally banned plastic bags! Originally scheduled to go into effect on October 1, the ban was pushed to January of this year to give vendors time to research their options and prepare for the change over. Beginning this month, a sign greets patrons as they enter the market informing them of the change and encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable bags.

How do I feel? Um… just thinking about it makes me dance a little jig and channel KC & the Sunshine Band: “That’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it, uh huh uh huh!”… Read the rest

December 17, 2009

No Impact Man Ch 6 – 8: Plastic-Free Cheese, Saving Money, Living in the Dark

As always, the questions raised in my No Impact Man book posts are relevant to everyone whether they have read the book or not. Please join the discussion.

Two days ago I asked: Why are that the majority of Fake Plastic Fish readers female (according to Quantcast)? Reader “underbelly” responded with a theory of gender roles that are still promoted by the culture:

To me, the green-o-sphere seems to be dominated by people in charge of the domestic realm. And since gender disparity still overwhelmingly exists in things like parenting, cleaning, cooking, buying household items, etc., guess who reads more about non-toxic cookware?


Sure, [eco-men] out there, but as long as little girls help mommy cook during Thanksgiving while little boys watch football with daddy, there will always be this disparity.

Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man, happens to be one of those eco-men who defies gender stereotypes. In Chapter 6 of the book, he… Read the rest

November 30, 2009

Notes on a Plastic-Free, Shopping-Free Holiday

Have you ever had so much fun that you completely forgot to take pictures? That’s what happens when the day is all about great food, friends, and silly games. Our friends Red & Jen (that’s them on the left) hosted a Thanksgiving potluck, and you know what? I didn’t see a lick of plastic. Okay, maybe I just wasn’t looking for it. Because sometimes I just have to turn off my “Fake Plastic Fish” brain and turn on my “connecting with others and forgetting about judgments” brain. I kinda wish that part of my gray matter would light up more often.

So here are a few notes with only a few pictures (which were actually taken by Jen and sent to me the next day!)


1) Michael and I got up early Thanksgiving morning and cooked butternut squash pie with a gluten-free pecan crust, baked yams (w/ butter, brown sugar, & lemon juice), and Autumn Harvest Salad with Persimmons. I got a little frantic time-wise… Read the rest

September 2, 2009

Fantastic News from Temescal Farmers Market! (Also a Note About Plastic Stickers)

I’m so happy I could cry! This morning, I was all set to write about my meeting yesterday with one of my personal heroes, Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man. But checking my email, I found the following message from Bianca Pardini of my local Temescal Farmer’s Market:

from: Bianca Pardini <> to: Beth Terry date: Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 8:50 AM subject: Plastic Bag Ban

Hi Beth,

I thought you’d be interested in knowing that starting October 1st, 2009 plastic bags will be banned from all Urban Village Farmers’ Markets (Temescal included). With the encouragement from customers like you and the advice and support from the people at The Ecology Center, we are hoping this will be a smooth transition. Please see the attached letter. Hope all is well.

[09/18/09 Note: The bag ban has been pushed back to January 1, 2010 to allow the market and vendors more time to prepare.]

Bianca Pardini Urban Village Farmers’… Read the rest

July 20, 2009

Plastic-free Farmer’s Markets need our thanks!

There’s a new trend in the Bay Area: Farmer’s Markets going plastic-free. But we still have a long way to go, and the vendors need to know we care.

Back up: Two years ago, I wrote the post, “Plastic Farmers Market“, about all the plastic bags and packaging at our local Temescal farmers market here in North Oakland. Shortly afterwards, I got involved with Green Sangha’s Rethinking Plastics campaign, whose members table at local farmers markets, handing out cloth bags and encouraging patrons to bring their own.

To be clear: I’m not talking about reusable grocery totes and baskets. Most of the folks here in the Bay Area are conscientious about bringing those bags. The problem is that they then proceed to fill up their canvas totes with multiple plastic produce bags. Green Sangha’s mission has been two-fold: encouraging shoppers to bring their own cloth produce bags (or skip putting larger items into separate… Read the rest

September 24, 2007

Temescal Tabling and Plastic Pick Up

Yesterday morning, Terry from Green Sangha joined me at the Temescal Farmer’s Market to educate the public about plastic. This time, the information was supplemented by a beautiful display, courtesy of the Marin Chapter of Green Sangha. Please click the top image to see the details of the display. We only had it for this weekend, and now it will have to go back to Marin where it normally lives.

We also handed out resusable cloth produce bags, asking a $2 donation to reimburse Green Sangha’s cost for purchasing the bags. These bags are great for produce because they are thin and lightweight and when dampened, will keep produce fresh in the refrigerator. It was interesting to see how many people who initially refused the bags, saying that they had their own totes, changed their minds when we explained that the totes are great but we’re concerned about the plastic produce bags that fill up the totes. It was nice to see that some people … Read the rest

August 21, 2007

Direct Action, Part 2: Temescal Farmer’s Market, Revisited

It’s me and Tina, the fake plastic fish, after lying awake for hours Saturday night, stumbling out of bed at 6am, and lugging a card table and folding chair on a mini hand truck half a mile down the street to the Temescal Farmer’s Market. We are located in a great spot in the “free speech” area where shoppers enter and exit the market. We have our table set up and photos displayed. We are psyched and ready to go! Well, I am. Tina is just hanging out, which isn’t much different from what real fish do.

As it turned out, I didn’t need the chair. I spent the entire four hours on my feet handing out “Don’t Think About A Plastic Bag” flyers as folks passed by, with a friendly, “Can I give you some information about plastic?” As I expected, the reactions were mixed: some took the flyer politely; others outright refused or looked away; a few started to walk away until they heard the word “plastic”… Read the rest

August 20, 2007

Direct Action, Part 1: Green Sangha

Sunday morning, a week ago, I’m sitting in a cottage in Berkeley with nine other people, eyes closed, watching my breath as thoughts come and go. It’s a meditation retreat, yes, but it’s more than that, and I’m attempting to let go of the agenda I arrived with and relax into the moment. Twenty minutes later, the bell rings, and it is time to introduce ourselves, share food, and plan environmental actions, from a place of centered compassion rather agitation or anger.

The group is the East Bay chapter of Green Sangha, and this is my first time attending their monthly meeting. It’s one of the first moments of real calm I have experienced since I began my plastics project, and I can tell that this communion of like-minded, open-hearted people is what I need.

Green Sangha was founded in 2000 by Jonathan Gustin, who was “concerned about the subtle hostility he found in many peace groups and the ensuing burnout that activism… Read the rest