Plastic Bag Ban is on!
yes_on_c.jpgMeasure C -- Town of Fairfax won 79% of the vote!

As of May 4th, 2009 the very first ever balloted Plastic Bag Ban goes into effect in the Town of Fairfax! Please do your part to support our local businesses through this transition and retrain yourself to bring your own bag for all your shopping needs. Look out Paper- your next! :)

The Plastic Bag Ban began as a action by one woman, Renee Goddard, who ran the Inconvenient Group and got inspired by a talk called Rethinking Plastic Rethinking Our Lives by Green Sangha. She said we should be able to get plastic out of the Farmer's Markets and they said we have been trying, but there are a lot of challenges. Renee worked with Sustainable Fairfax to organize a reusable bag sew-in and purchased 1500 biobags. In one night at the Fairfax market we gave away 140 hand sewn bags and 1200 biobags. A lot of bags. Then the real work began. With the help of other heroes such as Larry Bragman who wrote the ordinance, Good Earth who helped us provide affordable alternatives, Marin Sanitary Service who provided educational tools and numerous committed citizens who collected signatures, we have a Bag Ban. Congratulations!

marin_organics.jpgFrom the Marin Farmer's Market-

The Fairfax Farmers Market is thrilled to be the first of MFM’s markets to no longer offer single use plastic bags. In November 2008, the Town of Fairfax passed their Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance by a landslide, banning plastic bags. Customers will be encouraged to do their part by bringing their own reusable bags and market vendors will have paper and compostable bags available. Thanks to the ongoing educational efforts of our partner Sustainable Fairfax, MFM is confident that Fairfax shoppers will be prepared to take on the challenge. For creative ideas on alternatives to plastic bags visit our Greener Markets Page.

Press Release: For Immediate Release

Marin Farmers Markets

Contact: Amelia Spilger

Fairfax Farmers Market Manager

415.472.6100 x 110

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FAIRFAX, APRIL 27th, 2009 –The Fairfax Farmers Market will open for the 2009 season on Wednesday, May 6th under the redwoods of Bolinas Park. The market will run 4 pm-8 pm through the end of September. Even with its unique collection of 25 local farmers, food purveyors, and artisans, what may be most notable this season is what you will not find at the Fairfax Farmers Market – single use plastic bags.

“This season marks a tremendous culmination of years of work by hundreds of people in the Fairfax Farmers Market community,” reflects Market Manager Amelia Spilger. While dozens of other cities across the country have put legislation into effect to ban plastic bags, the Town of Fairfax was the first town to put the ordinance on a public ballot. “As I talk through alternatives to plastic bags with my farmers, I’ve found that they feel reassured by the fact that the people of Fairfax voted for this change. It helps quell any anxiety that might come up.”

Farmers and food purveyors will be providing paper and compostable bags in place of plastic bags – however all parties recognize that the goal is for market shoppers to remember to bring their own bags (B.Y.O.B.). While paper and compostable bags offer alternatives to plastic bags, they are still single-use bags, and therefore use valuable resources. The success of this transition will depend on the commitment of the customer to relearn how to carry home all their fresh produce without all the plastic.

Sustainable Fairfax will continue to play an integral role in supporting this educational effort. Since 2007, the Fairfax Farmers Market has been home to Green Wednesdays, a program led by Sustainable Fairfax exploring the notion that every day is Earth Day by providing local residents with tips on ways they can reduce their environmental footprint throughout the year. Pam Harwell-Herrero, Executive Director of Sustainable Fairfax, echoes Spilger’s enthusiasm, ““I am so proud of all the dedication of a coalition that included town council and staff, businesses and organizations working together to make this happen." Sustainable Fairfax and Good Earth Natural Foods will generously donate over 150 cloth produce bags for the farmers to hand out to their customers on the first night of the market.

Marin Farmers Markets and Sustainable Fairfax recognize that this transition could not have happened without the support of the following people and organizations: the Town of Fairfax and the County of Marin for their on-going support, Green Sangha for their expertise in navigating the world of plastics, Patty Garbarino from Marin Sanitary for agreeing to do a pilot composting program for the market, Good Earth Natural Foods for donating Sustainable Fairfax’s produce bags, and neighboring market organizations like the Ecology Center in Berkeley and the Center for Urban Education on Sustainable Agriculture in San Francisco for sharing best practices on how to transition away from plastic bags.

Spilger notes that “the Fairfax Farmers Market is truly reflective of the Fairfax community. The fact that market booths are nestled in between towering redwoods rather than in straight lines embodies Fairfax’s “think outside the box” spirit. It’s appropriate that Fairfax will be Marin Farmers Markets’ first market to make the leap in transitioning away from plastic bags. We’re looking forward to learning some valuable lessons and hope that all our shoppers will come prepared with reusable bags and positive attitudes as we redefine the Fairfax Farmers Market experience.”

Marin Farmers Markets is a 501(c)5 non-profit which runs 7 farmers markets in the Bay Area. For 26 years MFM has been bringing farmers and communities together to create healthy viable local food systems. For more information please visit
Sustainable Fairfax is one of the first groups in Marin to pioneer sustainability, with a legacy of educating the town council, supporting the community, providing services to the town, and conducting educational events since 1999. For more information please visit

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