LIGHTFOOT MARKET: A SHOWCASE OF SUSTAINABLE MAKERS AND DESIGNERS
May 5, 2017
The best thing about New York so far: there are really environmentally conscious people here, and some great events to go with them.
On Sunday I went to the first annual Lightfoot Market in Dumbo, Brooklyn. With sustainability at its core, this market showcased local designers and makers who are striving to help people and the planet, along with discussion panels made up of sustainable workers and entrepreneurs throughout New York.
Photo from EastonCourier.com
After a quick stop at Brooklyn Flea for lunch (a delish Indian dosa on a paper plate with my own luxury spoon, then an outrageously oversized chocolate doughnut from Dough), I headed over to attend the first talk:
'Innovative Ways to Grow and Purchase Food Sustainably in NYC'
Speakers in the panel were Yemi Amu of Oko Farms, who grows vegetables in water with fertiliser created by fish (a cool system called 'aquaponics'), Erik Groszyk an urban agriculturist of Square Roots, Wen-Jay Ying of Local Roots, who helps make local produce accessible to local residents through markets and community events, and Ceci de Corral of Brooklyn Grange, who helps build green roofs throughout the city. Ariel Lauren Wilson, editor of Edible Manhattan, expertly led the chat.
Listening to these unique speakers really opened my eyes to all the ways sustainability can be applied to our eating habits. Even though my focus is on packaging and its biodegradability, the discussion opened my mind to the fact that also we need to appreciate where our food comes from, who grows it, who transports it and how much they're paid.
And the most relevant info for me and this bloggy? I have now been told that biodegradable 'plastic' (back in the UK, I would buy bin bags and toilet roll packets made of this) actually produces bad gas methane when it breaks down. So it leaves me with the decision of what's worse - methane doing its thang for global warming, or plastic hanging around forever and clogging up our world? A discussion for another time I think!
These awesome speakers debated the question of whether or not sustainability is currently 'trendy' (with the likes of H&M's 'Conscious' range), the amount of waste produced in the clothing industry and health and safety standards for industry workers.
They had loads of helpful suggestions for consumers in the audience, from joining in with Fashion Revolution Week(you might have seen the 'Who Made My Clothes' campaign around online) to where to find clothing swaps in NYC. Overall, it was a very inspiring chat with an underlying message that change can begin with the customer.
And now for the SHOPPING part!
The market itself was filled with a huge array of inspiring and sustainable vendors, promoting all things from environmentally-friendly to cruelty-free and fair trade.
I was very excited to shop there and meet the passionate vendors working towards a plastic-free world. Some of my faves were:
The lovely lady behind this brand works so hard to make skin care products as naturally and environmentally as possible. Sadly not all her products are plastic-free (she said it would have put the prices up like ker-razy) but I appreciated the natural ingredients, and she did have a few non-P items. I bought a glass bottle of gorgeous-smelling Rose Geranium bath salts.
This duo sell cards and prints on recycled paper, in biodegradable sleeves, and also donate to The Pollinator Partnership and Conservation International. I’ve just found out their cards contain seeds and are plantable!! OMG!
These guys let me use their loom to weave some beautiful natural fabric. They also showed me examples of upcycling old bits of plastic to create interesting woven pieces:
This is how I found out about the market. These guys sell loose food products, I brought my own container especially and bought some cinnamon and flax seeds, as well as a bamboo toothbrush. They don't have a permanent store yet, but they're working on that!