After visiting a farmers markets in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico what I came away with more than anything else (besides delicious food) was the recollection that in fact organic farming is really the original, natural way that farming existed…unfortunately in most of the world we have just lost our way.
Before the chemical companies needed a new market following World War II fruit and vegetables, even in America, were grown without pesticides and herbicides; and just as a reminder this was also a time when cancer was not nearly as commonplace as it is today. I think that just about everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer…could this be merely a coincidence?
But back to organic farming and farmers markets… in Cabo I visited the Wednesday farmers market, which is located just above the hustle of the small city. What I found there was really exciting and delicious. Great homemade tamales, salsas, and mole sauce. Beautiful vegetables, fruit, humus, and cilantro & pumpkin seed pesto. Beyond the food I also had a feeling that the market was a real gathering place. A place where locals, visitors, and part time residents come together. Whether meeting someone new or finding out the latest news there was a sense of community.
Whenever I asked if the produce was organic the answer always was ‘Si’…yes, of course it was. After leaving the market what kept coming back to mind for me was that this is how people normally grow their own food. And why not? they live on their farms so they are concerned about what they put in the soil, as well as what their family is exposed to. Why spend the extra money on herbicides and pesticides when it is not necessary. Rotation of crops feed the soil, multiple crops help keep pest problems to a minimum, as well as the knowledge of what else keeps pests away naturally.
We are finally realizing that it is time to return to solutions that work without causing harm to people and to nature. Usually when I visit less sophisticated places I am reminded of what it means to live in closer connection with nature, and community. It is amazing what clean air, work that is rewarding, food that is fresh and natural and also a sense of belonging provide us. Most of these basic elements of life have become sorely lacking in the fast paced, modern culture of the west and we are seeing the price that we have paid.
We do not have to go back in time and give up what modernity has provided, but we do need to be intelligent about what it brings in both a positive as well as negative way and then make choices. It is time to take more personal responsibility for ourselves, our health and our communities. When we step away from our busy lives we see how this works and what benefits it brings us. The real challenge is to gain this knowledge and incorporate it into our daily life wherever we may be…in the city or the country, at our work or on vacation. I love going to farmers markets because they always remind me of where our food comes from, and what a gift it is that real farmers are growing healthy, clean food for us, and that we have a choice of what we buy and who we buy it from.
As Michael Pollan says, we get to vote with our fork three times a day. Take a moment to reflect on what you are voting for.
If you are in Cabo, or will be visiting, you will find information here on the local farmers markets. Try to visit at least one, there are three weekly, I am sure that you won’t be disappointed. There is also a farmers market in San Jose del Cabo, which is less of a touristy area (for now). They are supposed to have quite a large Saturday farmers market. I guess that I will have to return soon to check it out…
Here are a few more photos to share the bounty that awaits you in Cabo, beyond the blue sky and beautiful beaches.
thanks Lenny for the great photos