I’ve been to a lot of farmer’s markets, and they tend to be in large public spaces. But really, a farmer’s market could be anywhere–how about a parking lot?
I was in Spokane recently to visit family and timed my arrival to stop at the Millwood (just outside of Spokane, WA) farmer’s market on a Wednesday afternoon. I was familiar with this market from reading “Year of Plenty“, by Craig Goodwin, pastor of the church that started the farmer’s market in their parking lot. I absolutely loved the book, and wanted to see the market and maybe be lucky enough to talk to him. I did get to meet Pastor Goodwin (after confessing that I felt kind of like a groupie seeking him out), and he was extremely friendly and nice, and took some time to chat with me about our shared interest in sustainable food.
What I loved about this market, besides the small-town feel and the variety of good food, was that it showed that you don’t have to be an expert to do something very positive to promote local and healthy foods–the farmer’s market actually came into being thanks to an eighth-grade parishioner who thought there was a need for some interesting activities in her small town. Her parents and Pastor Goodwin listened, and now there is a thriving farmer’s market in Millwood. The church also started a community garden. The lesson to me is that we don’t have to wait for the industrial food system to change itself; we can get together with our local church or community group and start mapping out alternatives. And have fun doing it.