The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is announcing a “Green Market” stand outside the Zoo on alternate Saturdays that will offer guests fresh produce for sale, mirroring the Zoo’s conservation mission of inspiring people to act on behalf of wildlife. The “Green Market” is part of the “locavore” movement, with the goal of encouraging consumers to purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables that are sustainably-grown and harvested, and educating the public about how buying local produce protects wildlife.
The “Green Market” stand will be outside the Zoo’s exit gate every other Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the following Saturdays:
Buying local produce, using native plants when landscaping, avoiding excessive packaging, and saving water – these are a few of the actions the Zoo tries to inspire in visitors’ daily lives to protect wildlife. The messages are conveyed to visitors mainly through a daily schedule of zookeeper talks and animal presentations. The Zoo’s new “Green Market” is meant to complement the work being done by animal care staff inside the Zoo, by displaying and selling a variety of products that support conservation efforts outside the Zoo gates.
Tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, kale, and cabbage are just some of the produce that will be on display, all of which will be harvested within 24-hours of the market’s opening hours.
Andrew Aiken, President & CEO for the Zoo, said the Green Market initiative is a positive example of the “locavore” movement, which is gaining momentum. He said, “We like to promote local food businesses that source their offerings within 100 miles. These conservation actions inspire us, and we want to join in.”
“The reduction of carbon emissions from saved trucking miles is always a good thing for our climate and for wildlife,” Aiken continued. “We hope to grow this initiative into something people can see on a regular basis at the Zoo.”
Krista Gardner, Conservation Development Associate for the Zoo and organizer of the “Green Market,” was inspired by her own experiences, both working with Farmer’s Markets and selling her own home-grown organic farm produce, to offer fresh produce options to guests who are exiting the Zoo.
“So much of food today is shipped across far distances, which requires early picking and a lot of packaging and fuel to transport,” Gardner said. “Here in South Florida, we have the potential to produce enough fresh fruits and veggies for ourselves, and we think it’s a good thing to do that as often as we can. Locally-grown food is fresher when it reaches your plate, and that can have many health benefits. As our population grows, we need to think about how we can increase food production without forcing more wild land into agriculture.”
“Purchasing locally-grown food is a small step, that when taken by many, can have a big positive impact,” Gardner continued. “The Zoo’s ‘Green Market’ is a way to illustrate this concept, and to put fresh Florida produce within reach for our guests.”
The Zoo is currently accepting proposals for future market vendors. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any potential vendor who would like to join the market can send an email listing items to be sold and pricing, as well as business background information, particularly any efforts made to reduce the business’ ecological footprint and to promote environmental conservation. Vendors are required to carry their own certificate of insurance.