Winning

When we first started selling produce at the farmers market a few years ago very few people were interested in the fact that our vegetables were organic.  Some folks snickered, some sneered, some were skeptical, nearly all were indifferent.  One person told Cherie that “organic” was just an excuse to charge more (even though we priced our food the same as the chemically-grown stuff). We were the only vendor at the market with a chemical-free ethic and that ethic generated very few customers.

How things have changed.

Nowadays there are at least 6 chemical-free (the “o word” is now prohibited) produce vendors at our market–approximately half of the farmers there.  And there are enough customers for all of us.

Even though I sometimes grumble about the fact that the vast majority of the folks in our community still get their food from grocery stores, more and more people are choosing to eat seasonally and do their grocery shopping at the farmer’s market, going to the grocery store only to get what isn’t available there.

Certainly our community is lagging behind most of the rest of the country, and we have the health statistics to prove it.  But even here the food movement is alive and well.  And getting stronger every day.

As a farmer friend of ours put it, “We’re winning.”

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16 comments on “Winning

  1. shoreacres says:

    Ahem. Cough,cough. I can remember saying, myself, “It’s just an excuse to charge more…” Of course, when those words crossed my lips, I was comparing grocery store “organic” to grocery store standard issue, and couldn’t tell a bit of difference between the two as far as quality or taste. Once I started buying from farmers’ markets, and local farmers particularly, there was an obvious difference in quality and, more importantly, taste.

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    • Bill says:

      Me too. Many years ago when Cherie started buying organic food, I considered it a waste of money. There’s no difference, I thought. It took me awhile to see the light.

      You make an excellent point about the differences in grocery store conventional and grocery store organic. There the organic benefit is not reflected in taste. But as you know fresh local food is incomparably better than anything available in a grocery store, and when it’s also free of poisons and produced ethically, it just can’t be beat.

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  2. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I can remember way back in the early 1970s discovering a magazine called “Organic Gardening” on my lunch hour at the library. Being from a early life background of farming I thought it was fascinated stuff and begin going to the library every lunch hour and reading the magazine cover to cover. Then discoveries of “Prevention”, “Mother Earth News”, and books that supported those weird ideas of growing and natural living were checked out with my interest growing and growing. The first Firefox book was published and that drew me into a by gone era of living the simple life. My journey in life at that time was set in the field of technology which I really liked as well and all that knowledge was stored away over the next few decades. Today the knowledge store house is open and even though the simple life is still not there the methods of gardening, which is still strange to the common person, is beginning to become a reality in my gardens. It’s a wonderful way to finally get to use all the knowledge from the past. It saddens my heart to think that what used to be a natural way of talking about gardening is now prevented from being used by those that actually grow things organically but at least folks now know what it’s supposed to mean when the term organic gardening is used.

    My phrase to respond with when folks ask the question “How are you?” is “Just living the dream. I got up early today because I couldn’t wait to get the day started.” It may be some what of a cliché but for me there is a big element of truth in the phrase. It’s a great life.

    Have a great winning day.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve had this comment on my mind all day long. I woke up this morning feeling grumpy because we’re just so cotton-picking busy these days trying to keep up. When your comment hit my email I was out picking produce for someone who made a big order for pick up at 10. I’m still addicted to looking at my email every time the phone buzzes to announce I have one. So I was in the garden when I read your comment. It hit me right between the eyes. You’re so right. I’m living the dream too and I shouldn’t forget that. I’m going to try to start every morning with “I got up early today because I couldn’t wait to get the day started” in mind.

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  3. I somehow came to follow The Cornucopia Institute on Facebook. The other day, they posted an article that may also be encouraging to you and yours: http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/06/guess-wants-farmer/

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    • Bill says:

      It’s very cool to see people choosing farming as a career/lifestyle. For a long time it seemed it was only the kids who weren’t smart enough to do something else who ended up as farmers. These days lots of people are ditching the corporate life to take up farming.

      Unfortunately lots of them don’t appreciate how much work is involved (for so little money). If it’s not a labor of love, it won’t work.

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  4. My niece runs several farmer’s markets in the San Diego region Bill. So I hear organic a lot. We just had the big GMO battle here in Jackson County a few weeks ago. Family and organic farms are important in the area. The community voted to ban GMO. –Curt

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  5. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Bill, despite being a vegetarian I do a poor job of going to Farmers’ Markets. We have them here in Independence in two different places both of which are open two different days a week. So I could shop 4 days out of 7. Still, when I used to go to them–up in Stillwater, Minnesota, I discovered myself buying way more than I could eat in a week. Everything was so fresh and beautiful that I couldn’t stop my yen.

    Perhaps it’s time to begin again and to look for “chemical-free/organic.” Thanks for inspiring me. Peace.

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    • Bill says:

      I understand that. We have had several people discover our farm, get really excited about the food, then buy way more than they can reasonably deal with. Then they get frustrated and stop buying. So now we try to caution first-time buyers making big orders to start smaller and make sure they have the time to deal with so much food.

      I hope you’ll find a local farmer or two and let them provide you with all the delicious wholesome goodness you need. 🙂

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      • Dee Ready says:

        Dear Bill,
        That’s what I plan to do this summer. Pick a day and one of the two sites, browse, and select salad fixings and at some point, lovely eggplants to make ratatouille and some dark honey and jams. I’m going to treat myself both to the veggies and to moderation! Peace.

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  6. Luke says:

    One of the biggest lessons in ministry up to this point has been: Changing the world takes time.

    Stinks cause I’m impatient. Then I read blogs like this which give me hope for a sustainable and better future. #Winning

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    • Bill says:

      I’m impatient too. It was just a few days ago that it occurred to me how much the farmers market has changed over the past few years. I was so focused on our failure to completely win over the world that I was overlooking how much good has been done. I remember when my friend said we were winning. I didn’t see it that way. Now I realize he and I were looking at the same evidence, but he was seeing it in context and I wasn’t.

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  7. EllaDee says:

    I remember when organic food was more expensive, mostly found in marginal health food stores, and usually appeared inedible… Then we got Supermarket Industrial Organic because there was money to be made. Finally we got farmers markets in the cities and opportunities to purchase pasture raised-finished, chemical free, biodynamic, organic, home-locally grown. There’s more and more winners every day 🙂

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