We did not grow up in “the big city”, both of us having been raised in smallish NC towns. As we moved into adulthood, we left home and both found different communities of friends and colleagues as we attended college and started our working careers. We built our circles of friends around work, school, and common interests. Now that we are living in a small farming community, we are finding a different community, that of the the farmers and shoppers at the farmer’s market each Saturday.
There was a time in U.S. history when small towns and crossroads were tied together by a sense of place and community. Farming towns were especially tight knit. But by most any measure, folks even in rural areas now feel more isolated from one another. But in participating in the farmer’s market, we feel like we are getting a glimpse of what community used to look like throughout large parts of rural America. And we really like it.
We have been welcomed into the Person County Farmers Market with open arms. Each Saturday we are reenergized with the spirit of community that we find at the market. The kindness is inspiring as is the sense of support that we get from the shoppers who want all of our farms to succeed. The other vendors are interested in, invested in, and hopeful for the success of all other vendors. We all know that the success of each of us individually makes the success of our market more of a reality and that means we all benefit – the community benefits.
In this time of political and social division in the U.S., we think there is a role for farmer’s markets in restoring a sense of shared community space for a wide array of people. We’re hopeful that, at least at the Person County Market, we’re bringing folks great produce and flowers, but also helping to create a community that ultimately makes our home county a better place.