Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nice piece on the value of Farmers' Markets

Salem is blessed with the April-October outdoor Salem Saturday Market (now supported by an enthusiastic and energetic Friends group, complete with a blog) and the midweek Wednesday Market and the year-round indoor Salem Public Market as well.

One possible silver lining to the continuing collapse of the commercial real estate market is that it might create an opportunity for more year-round options for fresh, local produce sales as well.

Farmers’ Market — the new village for today?

. . . With the automobile we have gained access to places much farther away than a day’s walk would afford. We have lost the intimacy of strolling through the street or town at a pace that affords really “seeing it.”

How many times have you walked around a neighborhood that you are driving through on a daily basis and seen homes, flowers, nooks of interest that are totally unnoticed at the pace of an automobile and with your eyes on the road? So it is with the advances of technology that are coming at a faster pace every day. . . .

Perhaps the attraction of a Farmers’ Market may be more than the freshest vegetables and fruit. When I look at the faces of the people thronging these small places, hear the lilt in their voices, feel the warmth and joy that overhangs the area, I think there is much more to going to the market than just provisions for the larder. It may be that we are “provisioning” our soul’s hunger for connections and the feeling of community . . . . I would stipulate that every neighborhood would have stores and facilities within walking distance so the need of a loaf of bread at the last minute would not require a trip in the car.

This is sounding more and more like the small towns that so many of us grew up in. Not such a bad idea.

I’m not “Queen,” but I can dream of the best of both worlds. In the meantime, see you on Saturdays at the [Salem Saturday] Market!

(Wednesday Market photo "Fresh Tastes Better" from the wonderful Salem, Oregon Daily Photo Diary.)
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice column. I too wish for a grocery store within a 10 minute walk of everyone. Salem lost Central Thriftway across from the Konditorei, QFC replaced by the Dept of Energy building, and "Nameless" Thriftway on Mission, all of which were within walking distance for many residents. And who knows how many others that disappeared before I came to town. I love the idea that the way to fight back is not to scrape up money to buy a car so you can drive out to KMart or Walmart or Winco, but to grow and make as much of your food as you can, or buy it from local sources. Hard to beat those Winco prices, though, hard to replicate Koolaid and Doritos in the home kitchen, and if you're already working a couple of jobs you may not have much time or energy left when you get home for growing or tracking down sources of local food. Sad situation all round.