Finding Fellowship at the Farmers Market

I love Wednesdays. Wednesdays mean seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and catching up on the goings-on in the neighborhood. We congregate, and we share. The tantalizing smells of freshly baked bread, hot coffee, and a potpourri of home-grown herbs awaken my senses. I hear old men reporting to one another about the past week while they display their jams and their leafy greens. A young couple from the county over prepares tea samples as their young children play under the table. Decorative chocolates are arranged with care by the woman with the curly red hair, and people young and old begin to fill the room. I smile and savor the excitement as the Northside Farmers Market comes alive.

There’s something deliciously infectious about the Northside Farmers Market. Call it good vibes, positive energy, or just Knowing my Farmer, but it never fails that I leave feeling better than I did when I walked in; and it’s not just because of the bag filled with home-grown goodies that I carry back to my kitchen. Being there gives me the feeling I’m a part of something great, of being more woven into the tapestry of my community. I love that the act of buying kale involves more than just a swipe of a card. Not only do I learn what John, who grows it, will have at the market next week, but I also get to hear that his daughter is about the graduate from high school and am thanked personally from the person who is directly impacted by my purchase. I don’t remember ever heading to Kroger for social hour, but lively conversation and a few hearty laughs are hard to avoid while grocery shopping in the North Presbyterian Church gymnasium.  

And the great thing is that although the vendors and customers are unique to Northside, the Farmers Market Experience isn’t. What a beautiful way to counterbalance the increasingly prevalent forms of faceless communication we rely on today. What would our communities look like if every neighborhood had a market where people came for nourishment, both physical and spiritual? I came to the Northside Farmers Market primarily to assist with SNAP benefits, and somewhere along the way have found fellowship. If we extend the invitation effectively to our brothers and sisters across neighborhoods, cultures, and socio-economic divides, I have a feeling that people will come to look forward to the conversation that comes free with the kale.