Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Little Farmer Market: A Community Joy

At long last, I've finally made it to another farmers market!

This one is held every Tuesday morning of the season, from 9:30 to 12:00.  And this one is far different from the others I've been to in the past.

The Little Farmer Market is held at the local school in Silver Bay, MN.

I know what you're thinking.  You're saying, "What's so special about that?"  Well, the reason this farmers market is so different is that the produce that is sold there is actually grown at the school.  In a garden.  In a huge garden.

A view of the garden with a large zucchini plant in the foreground.
This is just a segment!

I got there late... as in we're-about-to-start-packing-up late, so there was very little remaining.  Some lettuce, spinach, basil, kohlrabi, and strawberries were all that was left on the tables that had been so thoroughly picked clean.

The garden was first created in 2011, according to a story about the William Kelley School Garden that I found on twoharborsmn.com.  They had received a $6000 grant from SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Program) that enabled them to buy everything necessary to begin a garden at the school.  It even has a greenhouse so that they can start their crops a little early!

All proceeds from sales go back into the garden, which they estimate has a yearly cost of about $500.

But!

The students also find produce grown within their own garden in the school salad bar.

How awesome is that?!

Student involvement is key, of course, so brainstorming new methods to ensure that involvement is always going to be important.

When I went to the Little Farmer Market I saw smiles.  

I saw people that were proud... and happy.  It was a place that a person would want to return to.  And not just to buy organic produce. I mean, sure.  The strawberries (organic, of course) were extraordinarily mouth-watering, and the spinach had a special zing that made toothbuds sing.

But the project, the people, were a huge draw.  They're doing something amazing, and this is the third season that they've been doing it.  It's a gift of knowledge and pride for the students, but it's also a gift to the rest of the community.

This is how change is accomplished.

With a combination of community, knowledge, and happiness.

The Little Farmer Market does exactly this.  And more.

"Welcome to the garden!" is painted onto a river rock, and laid at the entrance beside a container planter.


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