Earth Day Was Born in the Midwest!

Yes, Earth Day was born in the Midwest! The concept for Earth Day originated in 1970 with Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. Senator Nelson was greatly disheartened after witnessing a horrible 1969 oil spill that occurred in Santa Barbara, California. He decided to take action and help prevent future tragedies like the Santa Barbara oil spill and bring the world’s attention to the increasing damage that our pollution and apathy were causing our environment.

Over 20 million people across America participated on that first Earth Day in 1970.  It was an even that crossed all boundaries of economic status, political affiliation and social position. Many people were now already experienced in protest and public outcry in the anti-war movement. With the road paved by Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring,” people were ready to take a stand in support of environment protection. Indeed, the first Earth Day led to the founding of The United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passing of the Endangered Species, Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

Clearly, the time was right and Senator Nelson was ready to open the door to a new era of global consciousness. For more than 30 years, we’ve been celebrating Earth Day, thanks to Senator Nelson. In fact, in 1992 President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being Earth Day’s founder.  Senator Nelson’s contribution to our global well-being cannot be underestimated! As you celebrate Earth Day this year, reflect on the profound role that Senator Nelson and the Midwest have played in the increased, communal awareness of our Earth’s welfare.

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Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are now being planned for the season in your area. The farmers market is a great way to have fun, make friends and bring home some really good food.

What’s at a Farmers Market?  The farmers market offers items such as grass-fed meats, artisan cheeses, organic and mega-fresh produce, herbs, free-range eggs, hand-gathered honey, handcrafted jams, baked goods and flowers. Many farmers markets are now offering rubs, sauces, infused oils and gluten-free items as well. Many large and long-established farmers markets will offer entertainment and activities for children.

Be wary of buying produce or other items that you can get yourself at the local supermarket. For instance, if you see bananas or coconuts at a farmers market in Wisconsin— pass them up. Now if you’re looking for those and they’re a great deal, by all means go ahead and pick them up.

How Do You Find a Farmers Market?  Are you now eager to find a market near you? It’s not too difficult to find a farmers market in your area. Local Harvest is a website that gives you the scoop on what’s happening in the world of organic and local foods.The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) also gives you a comprehensive listing that includes winter markets, products available, state contacts and payment types accepted. This site is operated by the AMS for the USDA National Farmers Market Directory. These sites are powerful resources. You can also visit your local newspaper’s website, which will give you information about the farmers markets in your area.

There are more than 5,000 farmers markets in the United States– which means that there’s probably one near you! Now is the time to find one in your area. Plan now to visit your local farmers market. Meet interesting people, make friends and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor!

Spring is here and summer’s around the corner. Now’s the time to start planning to visit your local farmers market. If you’re a country girl like me, you probably grew up with at least one garden plot in your back yard. In the summer, I could walk out to the back of our property and pluck a large, juicy tomato or a dark and glossy spiny-skinned cucumber from our garden. I would then take it to the garden hose, wash it off and then sink my teeth into it. I can’t explain a more pleasurable experience for a country kid on a hot July afternoon!

If you didn’t grow up in the country and you didn’t have the chance to experience this, you can do it now by finding your local farmers market. Depending on where you’re located, you’ll find farmers markets year-round or during warm months. The farmers market down the street from me runs on Fridays from June through October.

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