A Social Need

By fallspark, May 29th, 2011 | No Comments »

I was in Minneapolis this week for my grandson’s third birthday party, and on Saturday visited a newly formed farmer’s market on the city’s southwest side.  There were a dozen or so small vendor stands situated in a church parking lot at the corner of Chowen and 49th street, just a few blocks from the trendy 50th and France shopping area.  I actually lived in this neighborhood for a year while working in the cities some time back, and was pleased to see a local market there.   This is something that part of Minneapolis needs.  As is usual for that city, the neighbors are in full support.  Small yard signs advertise its location and its hours, and at a mid-morning hour yesterday, it was very well attended. 
As with our own Falls Park market, the offerings there had the distinctive feel of spring; a bit of rhubarb, lots of jams and plants for sale, and like our market here in Sioux Falls, the smell of baguettes and other baked goods permeated the area (I purchased some of these, and pretty well ate through them on my return drive yesterday).  I attended the Minneapolis market with my daughter and her family, including her in-laws down from Winnipeg, who regretted they were unable to purchase much of what was found for sale there, as many items may not be transported across the US/Canadian border.  Still, they enjoyed the neighborhood experience, noting that most of the people there seemed to be young families with small children.  But along with my white-haired, northern counterparts, I saw an entire neighborhood, young and old alike, dogs on leashes, bicycles parked against trees, and it was apparent from the tables full of coffee sipping locals that this was more than a place to buy herbs on a Saturday morning; it had instantly become a destination site to get out and socialize.
This is something Sioux Falls is nurturing at the Falls Park location, as well. Although I currently travel too much to be considered a weekly regular, when I am in town on the weekend, it is my favorite place to start my Saturday.  I love to grab a coffee and just wander the market, see what that vendors have to offer, enjoy how they intermingle with the shoppers, the scraps of overheard conversation about the weather or different plants, and I never fail to run into people I know. 
In my fifties I belonged to a lot of social and special interest groups, groups at church, book groups, a bunco club and such, sometimes meeting with several of these organizations weekly.  But now, as I begin the decade of winding up my working years, I find I am becoming busier—less time for socializing, and this comes as a surprise.  One tends to consider the years of having grandchildren would indicate a slowing down and needing even more of such activities, but I find I am busier than ever visiting children in different cities, as well as those in town.  I find I am now becoming the other part of that village once said to be needed to raise a family in this busy new century, and am as engaged on my days off as I was when my own family was young.
So for me, as for so many others, the market represents a single destination to fill not only my immediate need for fresh eggs, produce and poultry, but more importantly, a genuine need to stay connected with community, to feel a part of that essential whole.  I continue to be grateful for our own growing Falls Park marketplace for the solid community anchor it has become.  -Georgia Totten, Sioux Falls

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