I’ve been making it a point to get out and talk to the people in my community about the things they wish they had access to locally. The first, and pretty much only, response I hear is a desire for a Thrift shop, that’s on my list as well. Monday I experienced a culture shock not once but twice that proved if I want to see better for the residents of this town I have a very long up hill battle to contend with first.
I found one person this week who shares my passion for access to fresh, local produce having been raised on a farm. That brings the total of those interested in growing food or having access to locally grown to three, not including myself. She and I talked in great detail on starting a farmers’ market. I would gladly offer my driveway as the location to hold a farmers’ market, but with no real parking in the area see the possibility of complaints arising. Yes, I know there are other legalities I would have to address but location seemed to be a starting point at least.
With needing a location to hold a market I reached out to the head librarian at the public library. Would it be possible to use the parking lot and the grassy area of their property to hold a weekly farmers’ market? The answer was positive but she had no idea what a farmers’ market was. She handed me information on, and email for, a nearby food pantry. I was a bit confused until she mentioned that she thought it was great I wanted to give food away for free. Huh?
I tried to explain that what I wanted to offer was a way to connect farmer’s and back yard gardeners with local residents at a local spot once a week to buy and sell fresh produce and eliminating the need to drive twenty, or more miles, for healthy food. She did know enough to tell me the local store wasn’t a place to go to find good produce she couldn’t quite grasp the concept of a farmers’ market and kept coming back to the idea of a food pantry where food is given away for free.
I realize if I am going to see any of my dreams for this town come to fruition I first need to address the vocabulary I use. If the discussion on a farmers’ market wasn’t enough to frustrate me on Monday then returning home and becoming engaged in a discussion with a neighbor would leave me questioning the possibility of moving this town in any new direction.
Arriving home I had a person ask me if that black thing in my yard was a new grill. What black thing? It took a moment to realize the object in question was my new compost tumbler. When I answered that it wasn’t a grill but my composter I was asked what compost was.
Wait, you haven’t heard the term compost before? No, she hadn’t. I explained that to give my garden beds nutrient-rich matter to grow the healthiest food full of rich vitamins and minerals I save my food scraps and then let them rot in a container where when these scraps when done cooking in the heat would turn into lovely “soil” I would then spread around my plants eliminating the need for fertilizers.
The reaction I got wasn’t what I expected. She informed me that this was gross and while she had been hoping I might share my surplus with her she now wouldn’t want anything from my gardens.
I sat here last night reflecting on my amenity “must” list I created before my move. My list included access to:
- Good library and used bookstore
- Thrift and/or consignment shops
- Farmers’ market I could ride to without needing a car
- A food coop or whole foods store
- Vibrant main street with independent small businesses
There isn’t one item from my list this town has but I would be surprised once I settled in to learn that recycling wasn’t even available to me. I have been sending my recycling home with my daughter-in-law to be put out on their recycling days, ever since.
If the people here don’t understand terms as basic to me as farmers’ market and compost will anything move forward to bring this town alive?
I haven’t given up and plan to meet with the mayor on Friday, one of the topics I plan to address with him will be improving the sidewalks for pedestrian traffic. After my meeting with the mayor I plan to meet with as many local business owners as are willing to talk to me about getting their help in organizing a group to work on the revitalization of main street. Keep your fingers crossed they more open to a discussion on how we can work together to revitalize this dying town and understand what I am asking of them.