April 7, 2013
“Farmers’ Markets”—as most of us are accustomed to referring to them—are a funny thing, in many ways.
Often times, and with significant implications, they are operated by and populated with people, businesses and organizations which are not farms or farmers, and sometimes, just as far away in their connections to and true understanding of farms and farmers as are the average grocery store, convenience store, or fast food joint.
On the other hand, there are sometimes situations that lead farmers to take matters into their own hands, shift directions, and start a market of their own. One that can be free from the constraints, unpredictability, turmoil, drama and issues of “behavioral and management styles” which can border on the just plain exhausting.
Recently, in response to the “management style” influenced decision-making of a particular Nashville organization—one which has done a great deal of constructive foundational work on food system issues in Middle Tennessee—a group of farmers has started a new market.
In this case, one specific farm happened to be singled out, and was made a target by the market management. A management that has no shared or transparent oversight, and is increasingly moving towards building its own vertically-controlled venue that purports to be a haven for building community relationships. The thing is, if and as other farms or businesses at that market become increasingly successful, the likelihood increases that they too may become a target, for the management’s issue de Jour.
So, the West End Farmers Market at Vine Street (Church) debuted to a warm and successful welcome from the community this past Saturday, April 6th, and will run every Saturday throughout the coming Summer and Fall.
It’s common knowledge that farmers don’t exactly have a lot of excess time on their hands, so it’s a testament to the intentions of this group that the choice was made to jumpstart this effort on such short notice.
Just maybe, in these days of Peak Turmoil and Drama, it would be more accurate to call these things “Local Markets – Turmoil Free.”