Defining community

July Make My Market Happen Month

What does community mean? Google gives two definitions:

  • “A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”
  • “A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”

The Fulton, Kingfield and Nokomis farmers markets encompass both: a group of people living in the same place, who regularly use their time and money to support a fellowship with others.

Minneapolis has an amazing community of farmers markets. From small roadside stands to weekly markets, CSAs to neighborhood gardens, getting up close and personal with our food sources is something that Minneapolis does well. But what farmer’s markets really excel at is community.

Communities may be small or large, and they may overlap at the edges, but everyone needs one. Some people find kindred spirits at church, on a sports team or at work. Community may look like just two faces across the table over coffee or a couch full of book club friends or twenty strangers on a picket line.

Community is what keeps humans human. Community is how and why we relate to the wider world around us. Community is how we learn, where we live, what we eat and what we believe.

Watching the Fulton Farmers Market come together and break down at the end of the day is like watching a busy anthill. Vendors on their first season swap stories with veteran farmers; tents rise in unison to cast some shade; vegetables and fruits are lovingly laid out on long tables. The smells of paella and breakfast hash cut through the air, and cut flower bouquets add exclamation points of color alongside fresh herbs, canned and jarred foods, bundles of vegetables and warm pastries.

When customers start to trickle in, the community grows. Neighbors meet for coffee and swap stories about the week. Dedicated shoppers make a beeline for favorite stands and greet the farmers by name. The conversation is punctuated with recipe snippets — about how best to use the gooseberries on sale this week, about the way last week’s goat cheese ended up eaten in one sitting, about how the organic carrots were the first vegetable that little Timmy ate without complaining.

The market is populated by families young and old, by couples and singles, by loyal veterans and first-time visitors. Every week is a little different, with new music and activities to try out. Every stall has fresh delights and old favorites to share.

In an increasingly divided world, community is more important than ever before. There’s something magical about starting your day with food grown in local soil — and sold to you by a face, not a logo.

Every time you make a local purchase, it’s like tying a tiny thread to your finger that connects you to someone else in the area. That thread is a small part of the web that you create every day, all of the connections you make. Every smile, every donut, every jar of jam — that is what creates community.

So, what does your community look like? We all have something common when we turn up for market days.

July is Make My Market Happen Month

Your neighborhood market would not exist without support from neighbors like you. If you love your market, make it happen by becoming a donor. You can donate online, by check or in person at the market. Make checks out to:

Neighborhood Roots

3754 Pleasant Ave S #210

Minneapolis, MN 55409