– More organic food, less plastic dependency
By Telesha Ramnarine
THE Almond Tree Farmers Market set for a November 14 start will promote organic food.
The organiser is insisting that only those small-scale farmers who stay away from the use of chemicals, pesticides and the like will be welcomed.
To this end, Diane Sinclair, who will be hosting the market for the first time ever, has her eyes set on only those farmers who can meet these standard.
“I’ve been out there knocking on people’s doors inviting them to be a part of it. But we have a particular standard. We don’t just want anybody to come and sell. It has to be, as far as we can verify, that they don’t use chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers because then we will be like any other market in Guyana selling the same sort of things.”
Diane formerly ran the Fitness Paradise Gym at Lot 229 Almond Street, Queenstown, but since the Coronavirus Pandemic forced her to close the business, she realised that she now has the time to pursue the farmers market, which she had always thought about.
The market will be on November 14, 21, and 28 and on December 5 right there in Queenstown where she operated the gym. “I guess it took COVID and not having anything to do to make things happen. Now that you’re forced to close your business and have some time on your hands, then you go back to the drawing board.”
Sinclair thought of hosting the market here because visiting them overseas was one of her favourite things to do whenever she travelled. “I also love the environment and am part of a farmer culture group who is into organic farming… according to the rules of nature.”
According to her, the farmers market is mainly for those kitchen gardeners who may have excess fruits and vegetables from their garden and may be interested in bringing in an additional income for their families.
“It’s a great place to come and sell directly to the consumers. The farmer gets more money in his pocket when he sells directly to you, whereas he would have to reduce his prices when he is selling to a middle man who has to sell to the market vendors,” she explained.
The market, though, will not just feature fruits and vegetables. “It’s about local honey, art and craft. We have a young girl (Zoya Samaroo) who is about to graduate from the university, and these are the stories that make this worthwhile…You know on the seawalls when broken bottles are washed up and they are worn away by the sea? They become beautiful little pieces. She makes the most amazing jewellery out it and these are the stories that we are trying to highlight.”
Sinclair said the market is also intended to promote the reduction of plastic consumption. “We’ve been challenging our vendors to not use plastic. We are also appealing to the customers to walk with their reusable market bags so we don’t have to give them a plastic bag.”
The market will also be promoting the need to eat healthy foods during the pandemic. “The message we’re getting is mostly about mask wearing and washing your hands. But nobody is really talking about building your immune system; taking care of your body and mind and spirit.”
She said the mission is to create a lively community space for the expressed purpose of sacred commerce of home grown, organic, recycled, repurposed, eco-friendly, handcrafted, locally produced products and produce.
The market will allow both vendors and customers the opportunity to learn, teach, socialise, build relationships, earn and see what creative things are happening in the community in time for the holidays and beyond.
“We are excited to welcome children who wish to be a part of our EEE Programme (Encouraging Early Entrepreneurship). We believe this is an excellent opportunity for children to not only learn about sales, marketing and money management but to become creators of their own reality.
“We wish to encourage all participants to pay closer attention to how our habits and lifestyle directly affect our lives and by extension, our planet for we are all connected.”
The markets will open from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sinclair assured that all COVID-19 protocols will be observed.