Pesticide-free vegetables?

I buy my fresh vegetables and fresh fruits from a farmers’ market. As far as I know, most of them are farmers who own their own vegetable farms.

I used to think that the smallholder farmers’ who display their fresh produce on small mats are more “organic” than the big-time farmers because these small-time farmers claim that they don’t use pesticides.

Unfortunately, I stumbled upon this vegetable garden / farm when I visited my ayi‘s home:

Do you notice the pile of rubbish right next to the bed of lettuce? That’s just a snippet of the pile of rubbish that’s next to it.

When I realized that these small-time farmers could be using any spare piece of land they could plant their vegetables on to sell at the local market, it got me thinking if it’s better to go with the serious, full-time farmers whose living depends on their farm.

Since their livelihood depends on the fresh produce that they plant, gather and sell, I figure that they’d take good care not to use simply any piece of land to grow their vegetables, right?

Then again, they would use pesticides to ward off any pests, right?

Plus, the litter that surrounds the small-holder farmers is still at surface level, right? Plastic takes ages to decompose and would not produce leachate yet, right? Then again, who’s to know what types of household chemicals and liquids the people living around toss out? Aerosol cans? Detergent bottles or packs? E-waste???

One of our good friends is a farmer in Malacca and we’ve seen how hard his parents and family have to work to keep their medium-sized farm running. They really put their blood, sweat and tears into the land.

Now that the agricultural sector is booming, I hope that they have invested in automotive lifts because farming is back-breaking work. Their parents would be too old to do any farming now but with farming equipment, they can rest easy knowing that their children are still working the land.

How about you? Who do you buy your vegetables from?