Yesterday at the farmer’s market a friend and fellow vendor predicted that within five years our market will be so busy on Saturday mornings that people will have trouble finding a place to park. This will be where most people come to get their food, he said.
I hope he’s right. Certainly we’ve seen big improvements this year, not just in the number of people coming but in the amount of food they buy. And it’s especially encouraging to see so many people whose concern for food extends to more than just its price.
Later that evening we hosted our monthly gathering of sustainable farmers we call “Chemical Free Farms of Southern Virginia.” There were only a few of us there. Dreamers. Optimists.
We had a good meal outside on the deck. We spent time playing with the goats. Mostly we conspired on how to make sustainable farming thrive in this community.
“This is how to change the world,” one of our farmer-friends said, as we were nearing the end of our get-together.
My immediate response was, “So let’s do it.”
Even as the globalization and industrialization of the food system accelerates and concentrates into fewer and fewer hands, the local food movement that is opposing it continues to gain vitality. It’s encouraging to see more folks answering the call to become food producers for a world that desperately needs an alternative to the industrial food complex. Thinking about the challenges we face, last night we discussed the fact that to make it work it’s not enough to be a good farmer and a good marketer (a difficult enough combination to find), we also have to be good advocates and educators. There’s plenty of work to do as move toward the next stage.
So let’s do it.