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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Spokane Farmer's Market

Hubby and I are probably going to stop off at the Spokane Farmer's Market this morning. I like the business plan for this market. They do give preference to vendors who grow locally and farmers can bring either their own produce or value added products made by them. BUT-- where there is no competition from local producers they will allow other vendors. So this way there can be things that are not grown locally only. This means that the locally grown foods will sell better too--because--if there is a bigger variety to choose from there will be more folks shopping and thus higher volume sold of local and non-local, organic and non-organic.

I guess that's what makes this appealing to me. The Seattle Market was huge because there were so many vendors, it attracted a phenomenal amount of customers. In Charlotte we have a big farmer's market that is open year round. It features local and non-local foods, arts and crafts. Its a great way for a small producer to get a start. I met a nice couple last spring who sell bedding plants at the Charlotte market. They've been selling their succulents and herbs at the big Charlotte Market for a couple years and now have finally opened their own retail venue in Rock Hill SC. Very Cool! A young couple has been able to build up a business using the farmers market!

The Tailgate Market however excludes anyone that is not growing locally and organic. Now this market too is growing--but it is self-limited. You simply cannot grow citrus in Charlotte--at least not enough to merit selling, maybe some myers lemons? Charlotte has a pretty good climate, but you can still only get certain things that are in season. Almost nobody would grow brocoli in the summer for instance. So if you want brocoli you will have to get it in winter when there won't be any tomatoes or peppers. Lettuce is also not a summer crop in Charlotte. Its a funny thing I think when a prosperous people seek to make themselves poorer--this is to me what is happening in the local foods only model. What if you live in Alaska? I suppose you must live on Moose and lichens?

The question is--is it more 'virtuous' to eat local/organic only?

I guess that is up to individuals to decide according their own belief systems. In America we have that freedom --to make our own minds up on that. Yeah!

I personally think that when a small farmer or business person has an opportunity like what is presented to them in venues like the big Charlotte Farmer's Market or the Seattle or Spokane Market they are getting a leg up--that they must 'earn' which could lead them further--and good for them!
I think the Tailgate Market is an interesting venue as well and a good thing I guess for folks who prefer organic and local foods only--but for me--I want more choices and more opportunities than local/organic only.

Live and let live I think.

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