Politics and Community
I am not a republican or a democrat and I frankly have been disappointed with the leaders both parties have put forward in the past decade. But it is precisely this focus on Washington DC that bothers me the most. I have seen liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans, even Greens and Libertarians fall into a hole dug by the system and made deeper by each person who jumps in. We have allowed the political machine to turn us into all the things we despise. Cheap shots, vulgar slogans and a refusal to have mature, positive debate drives our behavior. We spin our wheels arguing about the things we cannot change, instead of protecting and promoting the things that bring us together.
I’m a small farmer and I run a farmer training program which hosts a Farmers Market every week. We are a community market that provides an affordable outlet for local farmers, ranchers, artists and crafts people to sell their goods. No vendor at our market comes from further than 10 miles to sell what they grow or make. Most don’t drive more than 3 miles.
There are very few rules at our market as we want everyone to participate. We only ask that farmers have a valid Certified Producers Certificate, those selling food have a Cottage Foods License and that all vendors have a City business license which is offered at no cost. Oh, and all vendors must make or grow what they sell. We do not allow distributors or corporate representatives. Each vendor pays a small fee to help offset the cost of promoting and insuring the market.
Our Market is all about community and we have all walks participating. The market takes place on City owned property in a parking lot shared by a Veterans Organization and it is decidedly non-political, non-religious and totally about our small semirural community and the diversity of inhabitants that make it up.
We recently had a vendor who sells printed-shirts and was selling one with a political statement. We had some complaints and I had to ask her to remove the products from her booth. The statement, in my opinion, is immature and feeds divisiveness. Just more people turning their backs on community and jumping in the political cesspool. Many of the complaints about the product came from veterans who served our Country. Yes that’s right they served our Country, not a Political Party.
That vendor, who it turns out, doesn’t make her product, she just buys and resells it, has chosen to leave the market. I am glad she has moved on and I wish her and her business much luck. But it is not the kind of business we want at the market. We are about building community, not tearing it down.
I look forward to the future of our market and our community. I look forward to working with people who are building small businesses that support community. I wake up daily excited to create a food system that provides nourishment for the bodies and minds of my community.
If your idea of community is limited to a political party, a particular candidate or politician, a single race, ethnicity or religious background then you have no place at our Community Market. Nature has taught us that diversity is strength. I for one look forward to building and maintaining a strong community through connection and support not separation on division. I hope to see you all at the next Farmers and Artisans Market as we build a community that stands together.