Washington, D.C., is indisputably one of the leading cities of the world. It is the home to the planetís largest government. The center of debate over complex and controversial legislation. The stomping ground for tens of thousands of highly paid lobbyists. And the fulcrum for the funding, dissemination, and regulation of some of the globeís most advanced technologies. And so it seems oddóor at least unexpectedóthat Americaís national capital also would be a new bastion of simplicity.
And yet, in one important way, it is. A recent report on CNN.com notes that ìMichelle Obama is not the only one looking to feed her family from freshly picked produce. Just a few blocks away from Pennsylvania Avenue, nestled between the National Archives and the Portrait Gallery, a small farmersí market offers city dwellers an abundance of locally grown produce, homemade pastries, jams, and other handcrafted goods. The Penn Quarter Market is one of eight markets in the Fresh Farm Markets family, a D.C.-area nonprofit that supports local farmers in an effort to provide urban populations with fresh-from-the-farm products. It also is part of a growing movement of people turning against industrial farming practices.
Fortunately, what is happening in Washington, D.C., is not just a one-location phenomenon. In fact, according to the web site LocalHarvest.org, which lists farmersí markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food throughout the United States, ìpeople worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying local food. It is fresher than anything in the supermarket and that means it is tastier and more nutritious. It is also good for your local economyóbuying directly from family farmers helps them stay in business.
As compelling as the concept is, however, many people are not as familiar as they need to be with the process of buying locally grown food. No oneóin America, anywayóneeds instructions on how to purchase a box of Capín Crunch or the latest fad snack treat. After all, the nearest big-box supermarket is probably only a few blocks away.
But buying farm-fresh, locally grown food? That can be a more challenging task. Fortunately, the answers and information needed to help in this quest may be close by as wellóas close as your local Eco Consultant.
An Eco Consultant? Whatís that? Itís actually one of the newest and most exciting of the emerging wave of ìgreen jobs.î President Obama made the creation of green jobsóthat is, jobs whose main purpose is to promote environmental education, environmental protection, and fuel conservationóone of the priorities in the Federal economic stimulus package, signed into law earlier this year. And with good reason: green jobs offer a tremendous ìdual opportunityî for the country. Not only will they provide needed work and income for cash-strapped Americans, but they will help to improveóeven to saveóthe environment that our children will inherit.
The government isnít investing in the creation of Eco Consulting jobs, however. It doesnít need to. Eco Consulting jobsóno pun intendedóare truly a form of ìgrassroots environmentalism,î an environmental activity that is taking place right in local neighborhoods and communities. Eco Consultants, in fact, are ìgood neighborsî in every sense of the phrase. They use their accumulated knowledge and training to help friends, neighbors, and local businesses to take steps that will both save them valuable money and reduce their ìenvironmental footprint.
And hereís the best news: Eco Consulting is one ìgreen jobî that everyone can hold. Indeed, almost anyone, with the proper training, can become a certified Eco Consultant, and begin providing necessary environmental education in their community. Thereís no easier way to help make your own neighborhood or community just a bit more ìenvironmentally friendlyîówhile earning a nice supplemental income for yourself.