Now entering its third year on campus, the Wheaton farmers market continues to be a destination, drawing staff, faculty, and students out of offices and dorm rooms alike for a bit of fresh air and social interaction. And, the market continues to offer artisanal breads, organic and locally-grown produce, home-cooked meals, and a few craft items in an eclectic sampling of seasonal and sustainable goods.
At the core of “farmers’” market is the ideal of the “buy local, buy fresh” campaign. This seems to be a “growing” movement in the New England region that harkens back to our strong farming history. Supporting the “buy local” mantra keeps money in the local economy through patronage of local businesses, farmers, and the hiring of local trades people who are equally vested in the community. A good market builds community and provides a genuine sense of wellness through the healthy, organic food choices, and connects people to their food. Knowing where your food comes from is second only to growing your own food.
I believe we have achieved that sense of wellness at the Wheaton farmers’ market. “Rain or shine” the market unfolds each week. The set up begins in a predictable state of confusion. “Who’s coming?” …“who’s here?” …“where can I park?” …“where are my keys?” …”where’s Rosa?” And, …”will someone chase down that umbrella that is blowing across the dimple?” After the chaos settles down, the spirit of the market shines.
Out of the farmers’ market initiatives other things have grown! Less commonly known is the fact that a growing portion of dollars spent at the Wheaton market are used to support social causes. The Wheaton market has become a place for fund-raising, providing both entrepreneurial and philanthropic experience to students. More and more of our ‘artisan vendors’ are Wheaton students seeking to develop an idea, expand an initiative, share a skill, and support a club or a social cause. It truly is a giving place, and I venture to share some of these details in this newsletter.
It truly does “take a village.” With that many thanks to you on behalf of all of the Wheaton market-eers.