The local foods movement is alive and well in Champaign County! Here are some updates on other projects while we finalize our virtual market:
Local Producers Map:
Our local producers map is ready for publication and you will soon be able to find it on gochampaign.com. Copies will be distributed around the community, in the local telephone book, and other “hangouts”. The guide lists the location and contact information for nearly 50 local producers within our county. The map was a project of the Local Food Council and printed with the help of some local sponsors including the Monument Square District, Champaign Bank, the Community Improvement Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau and others. It is a great start to finding a local source for Champaign County’s finest!
If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music?
Would you hold it near as it were your own?
It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they’re better left unsung
I don’t know, I don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air…
(Ripple- Grateful Dead)
This is always a song of beauty, to me. It’s a soft tune, sung by Jerry, with one of my favorite verses, of all time, to end the song…
If I knew the way, I would take you home…
I have been thinking about this market, a lot, and how to guide it, how to nurture it, how to grow it, how to not let it go off the grid, trying to figure out if after seven years, is it still a sought out slice of local love, or has the love of local simply fallen by the wayside?
I have been asking myself, what is different? The concept, while once very new, very exciting, very different, had no other competition. But, as the years passed, we have watched the influx of food being delivered to your door. From all over. From every resource. You can literally order food, at any given time, groceries/meals ready for your table/to meet any need, 24/7.
We see almost all groceries now offering a plethora of organics, and in many cases, locally produced products.
Our market now may seem so old fashioned as you order, instead of food magically appearing at your door, you still need to make the commitment to come out, on a Thursday, to grab your stuff. And, yes…there is no app for your phone, and no paying online. In this age of fast and faster, bigger and better, grab and go, have we given it our all?
We also have had a lack of produce at this market. I get it. I wish I had the answers as to why it is so hard to have produce vendors, who grow their product, locally, come to this market. But, just as it’s a commitment for you, to make the effort to use and physically get to the market, is the same true for the producers?
This has been a quick, hot, and odd growing season. I know that it was for Hippie and the Farmer, has it been like that for other producers? And, even with the lack of produce, we continue to have many, many amazing products, at the market, but are they still dazzling enough to get you to order?
I’ve been your manager, for like, an eternity. I have watched ups and downs, but I would be lying to you, if I did not talk about my concerns, here, at this market. I know, of late, there have been a few problems with items arriving late to the market. I know that my smiling face has stepped aside, from being onsite, on Thursday evenings, so that I can keep my other businesses groovy. As much as I wish I could be at the market, I just cannot with my schedule.
But, this trend has been troubling me, for some time, now. I get what we don’t offer, I get the goodness of what we do offer, I get that we now seem like the antiquated sister to the now fast, main stream way of ordering food, or even shopping for food…
I just know that I am seeking answers to figure out if there is still a love, a need, a desire for our online farmers’ market. And, if so, what can we do to make it part of your life?
I am opening the market, this evening, and hope that I have provided some food for thought…because, like the last lyric of the song I posted, if I knew the way, I would take you home…