There was a lovely story recently shared on facebook by one of our regular farmer's market customers. She's the mother of an adorable young girl—a little lady who never arrives at market without the proper shoulderbag and matching sunglasses— and she always makes a point to give her daughter some money at the start of their shopping, allowing her to pick their purchases and handle all transactions.
Not only is the cute quotient completely overwhelming, I'm always struck by what seems to me a fine way of teaching money management, confidence and an underlying appreciation for local food.
"...Friends, just wanted to let you know how special this little market has become to us! When we arrived home, several neighbors saw my daughter. They said, “ Oh, you must have just got home from the grocery! She then replied, "No silly, vegetables come from the farmers, not the grocery store. They grow them." Then my sweet 2.5yr old said, "Bye, bye friends" and walked away to take her market purchases inside. I was beaming with pride! Thanks Galveston's Own Farmers Market! Score!"
I'm always tickled when our little customer with the plastic pink purse shows up. After that story, it'll be a struggle to resist hugging her tearfully and offering to go halfsies on her college education everytime she prances into market asking for kale.
When a preschooler skips over to your table and points at the pyramid of bok choy asking for one of the 'big, white things' and proudly hands over a fist of money, you can't help but marvel at the encouraging darlingness of it all. Little girls lugging asian vegetables exactly their same size like some alternate crunchy version of "My Size Barbie" is enough to make anyone beam with pride.
I'm sure Mattel's got the focus groups lined up already.
Growing food as a lifestyle is hard work. Growing food as a means to support oneself is far from the easiest way to go about it. We run into hardships and obstacles, foreseen and unforeseen, every single day.
The wonder of watching life emerge and transform in real time is one big fat reason why we're trying our darndest to make this adventure work.
Another is freedom—the kind that comes from knowing what went into the growing of our fruits and vegetables, and freedom from guilt because we do our best to do no harm to our environment and its future.
Those two year olds with 3 foot bok choys are another reason.
Or rather, the sharing of food which helps in making others healthy and happy. We can do very little to improve other people's lives. It's presumptuous to think we would even be suitable for that job—I mean, I've seen how bad our farmfashion is—but we can provide a memory of what good, honest food is. And hopefully reinforce the value of putting community, quality and accountability before fast, cheap and anonymous.
All we have to do now is keep it up until our produce toddles away in the arms of two year olds of all backgrounds and all classes. Thanks, Plastic Purse.
Now, if we can just convince her to bring a bok choy to show and tell...