Altapasa Green Circle/ Altadena Farmer’s Market

Every Wednesday in Altadena, the Altadena Farmers Market takes place. There is a booth called Altapasa Green Circle. Altapasa Green Circle is an organization that was started by Michiko Lynch, (with Elinor Crescenzi and Susan Campisi) – the goal is to transform the Altadena Farmers Market into a zero-waste market. Altapasa Green Circle gives all of the food vendors reusable plates, cups, bowls, and utensils, to serve their food on, rather than single use plastic. Back at the booth, volunteers wash the dishes. Such a simple idea, but so great, and no one else seems to be doing it! When customers are finished with their food, all of the trash cans are blocked off. Instead there are bins around the farmers market labeled with “Recyclables,” “Dishes” “Food Waste” and “Landfill”. Then some volunteers collect everything in the bins and bring them back to the booth, and sort the trash. There is also signs around the farmer’s market educating people on plastic waste and the myth of recycling.

Thankfully, the farmer’s market also backs them up, and urges people to bring their own bags, with an area where people can donate and borrow shopping bags if they need to. The farmer’s market is also a great place to shop! And also has Sustain L.A. every other week provide refillable goods (shampoo, dish detergent, etc.), so the whole market as a whole is really on this zero waste path!

They recently published their tracking – and since they started, they can say 14,853 disposables were avoided, and 2,075 pounds of compost was recovered!

I volunteered quite a bit over last summer, and it’s very fun talking to all the other volunteers and meeting new people, and we’re a community who all want to help promote zero waste and cut down on single use. It’s nice knowing that so many people care about what’s happening to the Earth, and that want to make a change! Hopefully if more people become aware, and more people are trying to make a change, a big change will happen.

I owe a lot to Altapasa Green Circle and the Altadena Farmers market. Green Circle taught me a lot about ways to recycle and what trash is made out of. (So many myths about recycling, and so many people recycle wrong!) If you live near Altadena/Pasadena, you should definitely come check out the Altadena Farmers Market! And maybe volunteer at Altapasa Green Circle. It is all done by volunteers!! And if they continue to succeed here, maybe they can expand their efforts at other farmer’s markets? Or they can share their education of how they got this going, so more organizations can follow. Hope they can!

I was hoping to volunteer regularly after school started but I’ve had a big homework load this year – but whenever I can, I hope to volunteer again!

Here is a great article on Michiko, as well as co-founders Elinor Crescenzi and Susan Campisi, Voyage L.A. (Elinor was the one who came to our house before the holidays to educate my Girl Scout troop on waste. She is amazing with her knowledge and caring!)

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