Saturday, August 2, 2014

#792 strolling

In many communities across the country, today is the day for farmers markets.  The markets have taken on such popularity that the Post Office is issuing a commemorative stamp to celebrate them.

"Farmers markets are an old idea that's new again," says the stamp's descriptive narrative.  "Considered by many to be the new town square, farmers markets offer, as they did in the past, a gathering place for diverse groups of neighbors to meet and short, to create a new sense of community."

Think about the markets that you know.  There is not much rhyme or reason as to what is sold or what order the sellers are in.  People sell from cars, trucks and tables.  Signs are handwritten and containers are ad hoc.  Folks eat while standing or leaning against the light pole.

Farmers markets are a business, but they are just as much places that generate social energy.

It reminds me of my mother's advice for a party:  never have enough chairs.  This forces people to mix and mingle in ways that don't happen when you can sit and stay there.  

Farmers markets work in the same way. By their nature, there are no chairs; everyone is walking around, and as a result you see more people and say more hellos. You bring the dog and stroll through the vendors.  No one is in a rush, or dressed up, or worried that the flowers come wrapped in last week's newspaper.

Sometimes we put so much effort into making events fancy.  Take a lesson from the farmers market for your next program and let informality reign.

-- beth triplett

Farmers Markets Stamps

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