The Rise of Recycling

Bob’s Note: This week we have a special message from a local “doer of good deeds”. Douglas Soule leads the Bridgeport High School Key Club and contacted the Market last year about heading up a recycling awareness program every Sunday. While many remain skeptical about his generation’s capacity to create positive change and dismiss them as “lazy and spoiled”, Douglas and his friends have proven, once again, that a younger generation in America will always rise to the challenge. They show up as scheduled each and every Sunday and talk to families about recycling, play games with the children of those families, and sift thru untold amounts of yucky garbage to pick out recyclables that they place in the green bins that they provided and setup. They’ve more than proven their commitment to making Bridgeport a better place. Stop by their tent this Sunday and see what I’m talking about. Thanks, BHS Key Clubbers! And good luck to Douglas in his future endeavors. He’s destined to keep on doing good deeds.

The Bridgeport Farmers Market offers a direct relationship with Mother Earth.

Local farmers grow crops between mountain peaks, selling them to community members who choose Appalachian agriculture over supermarkets; supermarkets where produce is shipped in from out of the state, sometimes out of the country. Produce in these businesses have more chemicals than freshness, each aisle like a funeral home, fruits and vegetables embalmed to show false impressions of life. The only ones who profit from these West Virginian supermarkets are CEOS and their families, who may live as far away as Newport, Arkansas- or farther.

Douglas Soule, far right, and members of the BHS Key Club at last summer’s Market

Many people profit from the Farmers Market: The vendors selling, those who are buying, and the entire populace surrounding. For more is sold at the Market than food. A walk through the tents and crowds each Sunday leaves ideas of healthy and happy lifestyles.

Whether it be the POP stand that uses fun activities to teach children the “Power of Produce,” the Bards of Yellow Wood, two teachers who create poems in return for book donations, or the chef demonstrations, a lot is to be learned through this community event.

Just like the POP Club the Key Club offers activities for kids each week

Until last year, something was lacking.

While the Market placed emphasis on well-being, trash cans were a bludgeon to the eyes, a sight that contradicted the expected “green.” Cans and bottles were miniature mirrors mired in various Market byproducts. Thrown away, they called for the sun and amplified light caught in their surfaces, extinguishing the darkness of the cans’ depths, revealing the plastics and papers within. These plastics were destined for the landfill. The cans were discarded to rust and rot. The bottles would wait thousands of years until completely leaving the earth. And while the papers may quickly decompose, by being thrown away instead of recycled, trees would have to be killed that otherwise would have towered over humanity, leaves broad and branches lofty.

BHS Key Clubbers in their new digs at this season’s Market.

The Market’s relationship with Mother Earth may have been more harmful than healthy. I noticed this nearly a year ago. A lot has changed since then.

After sending a message to the Bridgeport Farmers Market Facebook page about the lack of recycling, they replied within a few minutes. Recycling is expensive and requires volunteers, they said. Since many in West Virginia view “recycling” as a foreign word, people visiting the Market would toss everything in the trashcan even if a blue bin was in sight. Fortunately, I knew a group of people willing to devote time and effort to a cause that would benefit the community. This was a group that would be willing to go to the Farmers Market every Sunday, for hours on end, sifting through trash to look for recyclable treasure and offering information to those who were ignorant of recycling, hoping to sway them to become informed and involved in protecting the earth.

Bridgeport High School Key Club is filled with teenagers bursting with enthusiasm and energy. They see that their home state is one that needs help, so they offer help. When they see potential for change, they take the reins. With passion in their veins, Key Clubbers latched onto the plan.

A recycling system was installed in the Bridgeport Farmers Market. As a result, a relationship has been built that is beneficial for all: for farmers, for consumers, and for Mother Earth.



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