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Hilary Jones ponders absurdity and farmer’s markets


I want to share with you my recent experience at a “Winter Farmer’s Market” in Vancouver.

Although I have been to many similar events, for some reason, this time it dawned on me what a farce it is.

The market was packed full of people just like me: middle income, urban, progressive, toting our reusable bags, willing to pay a premium for locally-sourced organic products and desperately wanting to believe that we are part of the solution, not the problem.

We all milled around aimlessly, sampling luxury products such as handmade chocolate and artisan-distilled vodka, comparing a dozen different varieties of heirloom carrots, etc. With every purchase, we could pat ourselves on the backs for being so progressive and “green” and continue to deny our individual and collective responsibility for the impending collapse.

Although valet bicycle parking was available, we arrived in our car from another part of town. Judging by the parking situation, so did the majority of customers. Every vendor (several dozen at least) brought their merchandise in their own trucks from dozens or hundreds of kilometres away and set up their own gas-powered generators to run their refrigeration and other accessories. How is this any better for the planet than driving to the mall to shop at Walmart?

The whole thing just made me sick and I ended up fleeing in disgust and frustration. I don’t have children, don’t own a home, take public transit to work every day, but I have to admit that I am just as much a part of the problem as the SUV-driving suburbanites with 2.3 children. I am one of those “hard-working taxpayers” that every political party in the Western world attempts to appeal to. I spend my disposable income on travel, technology, entertainment and other useless crap. I salve my conscience by attending protests (when they are conveniently timed and located), donating money to “good causes” and voting for the most “progressive” candidates (or sometimes the lesser of two or three evils).

And by subscribing to Adbusters, the lone voice of sanity in the wilderness of media bullshit. Thank you so much for your existence! Reading your magazine is always a painful but validating experience.

I look forward to every issue and I eagerly await Dec. 19.

— a letter by Hilary Jones, Vancouver, Canada.

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