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When my family and I began dreaming of a farm we thought of all the ways to bring you the cleanest organically grown food possible. We considered the entire experience, all the way down to the packaging of our regeneratively grown produce.

In an ideal world everyone would grow their own food, and after harvesting, bring it straight to the kitchen for washing/processing. No packaging would be necessary, and waste would be minimal. Given that most people buy their food at the store, the final product has gone through a series of steps, before reaching the consumers hands. In some cases, packaging is a necessity to maintain product quality while enduring the packing/shipping process. In other cases packaging is used to increase aesthetic appeal and retail prices.

Unfortunately, plastic is the most commonly used packaging material. Single use plastic is polluting nature and destroying ecosystems. We all know we should be using less plastic, yet many of us still choose to purchase products which use plastic. We purchase these products because we think they look more pretty, or because the plastic makes the product look more sanitary. Our desire for convenience is also a contributing factor for our continual use of plastic. For example, a grocery industry trend is to buy pre-washed/pre-cut salad greens. No prep needed, and your meal is quickly enjoyed. What’s not to like? Although buying pre-cut greens is a nice, friendly way to enjoy your salad, it does require the use of packaging to ensure the salads quality.

At Dirt Candy Farm we chose to use PLA, a plant-based bioplastic which is derived from corn grown in the USA. It’s 100% certified compostable (composts within 2-4 months in a commercial composting facility). It looks and feels like plastic, but it’s not. When sealed, salads maintain freshness for weeks, and they stack easily in your refrigerator. The price for this material is many times more than an equivalent plastic packaging, but we believed it was important to not use plastic.

PLA packaging is not the perfect solution, and some people have suggested we use paper bags to sell our salad mixes. Serving soggy salad greens in paper bags would surely have us go out of business… We believe that PLA is a step in the right direction, and that we are diverting money from the plastic industry to another less harmful industry. As time goes on, and it’s use becomes more mainstream, cities will adapt their waste programs to properly compost the material.

Problems aren’t fixed by buying new things, just like sustainability isn’t achieved by purchasing new materials. Society becomes more sustainable when we choose to alter our behavior. Instead of preferring pre-cut/pre-washed salad greens we could choose to purchase whole heads of lettuce, or bunches of greens. This type of shopping uses no packaging, and requires less work on the farmers part, usually resulting in a cheaper product. It’s a win win solution. Your buying patterns dictate how we the farmers serve your food. The sustainability solution is a behavior modification.

At Dirt Candy Farm, we hope more of our customers will choose to buy their food with less packaging. If you would like to purchase container-less food, or supply your own container, please contact us to place a special order. We would be happy to provide you with an alternative.

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