As I read about the Esperanza Garden from DeLind’s article “Place, work, and civic agriculture: Common fields for cultivation” and how it connected people, young and old together, I couldn’t help but want this for the Village Farmer’s Market. I wanted it to be a place where individuals could connect with others around them, both farmers and community members alike, and use food as a bridging point that could help us bond.
Sure, there is a great deal of buying and selling going on. And while DeLind is weary of how a strong focus on capitalistic tendencies could taint the effort toward civic agriculture, I think that this traditional market component could help prevent a few acres of land from being developed into another housing complex, similar to the unfortunate end of the Esperanza Garden. The farmer’s market can become a sort of avenue to fight the food injustices imposed by our economy and the monolithic companies that fill grocery store shelves with processed foods, heavily influencing what millions of Americans eat on a daily basis.
So even if we take advantage of traditional marketing relations to help establish and sustain a farmer’s market, how do we foster good citizenship?
I think it’s by encouraging people to take the work into their homes in any way they can. While taking time to cook a meal with fresh vegetables might not be as unique as maple syruping or as ideal as working directly with the soil itself, I think it’s the place where many families have to start. Our sense of community, I think, is intertwined with our interaction with fresh food; it will arise from the discussion between farmers and the people they meet, the exchanges between people as they share and talk about what they made for dinner with the vegetables they bought, and the local events and performances within this space that can unify different people.