Growing Local – Eating Local

One of life’s simple pleasures would have to be going to the local Farmers Market for the weekly shopping. The hubbub of chatter, cooking, banging and rattling. Talking to the people who actually produce your food. The smells, the sights, the touch on your skin. The sense of being part of a food system that is whole and sustaining.

Local Farmers Markets are popping up everywhere and are in great demand. But the appeal is not just the local organic highly nutritious food, but it is also the community social event. The tradition of all people that identifies people to place and the products of the local climate and landscape back to the people. It is the celebration of connection with people-to-place and place-to-people.

Geoff Lawton

The Market Shed on Holland Street in Adelaide, South Australia is one of these social events. It brings all sorts of producers under the one (very big) roof on Sundays to show off their wares. It’s big and it buzzes with the warmth of people who are connected in to something greater.

There are the people sitting around, chatting with each other. Perhaps taking a rest having done the shop, perhaps a little break in the midst of it all. Perhaps gathering themselves having met an old friend as they walked in the door. A coffee, a spot of lunch. The laughter of kids running through. People with their dogs, people deep in conversation. Infants and grandparents and busy professionals. All weaving their way through the crowd, admiring the stalls, listening in on the stories.

Every stall with a producer, and every producer with a unique story. A local story, a story about how the eggs / honey / vegetables / whatever came to the market. Some producers born performers, waxing lyrical with bravura. Others shy, gently telling their tale. Passionate people. People doing something that matters. And all engaged with customers who care about what they eat and where it comes from. What it tastes like. Whose lifestyle they are supporting with their purchase.

Every market is a bit different because every place is a bit different. Every market changing from season to season as the produce changes from season to season. The vagaries of the weather. The humanity of not being able to open the stall on a particular weekend because of a family celebration.

It’s a place where shoppers become people, and people become humans. It taps into that great tradition of conversation, of being social, of knowing and caring about your neighbour. Whilst selling tasty, nutritious, healthy food is important, these markets do something far bigger than just sell food. They let us be human and part of our world when so many other forces try to make us inhuman and separate from the world. These markets ground us.

It’s where people can really connect. Connect to real food, not the pretend real food treated and shipped and wrapped in plastic. Connect to fresh food, and not the pretend fresh food that sits in coolrooms for weeks and months before hitting our supermarket shelves. Connect to real local, and not the local that comes from the other side of the country, the other side of the world. It’s where people can shop without guilt, knowing they are supporting their local farmers, their local producers. That they are supporting the world they want to create.

This is where people want to shop. This is the future. This is how local, ethical, organic farmers will survive and thrive.

Congratulations to Jonathon Kaitatzis for co-creating this beauty with his mum Marilyn. We think he’s really on to something.

For more great stories and videos, visit Geoff on Facebook or on his NEW website

The Permaculture Research Insitute

PRI Zaytuna Farm functions as a model farm (in development) and permaculture training facility. Geoff and Nadia Lawton, world-renowned permaculture educators and consultants, lead the project. Much of Geoff and Nadia’s time over the last few years has been spent away from the Institute, consulting and helping set up projects in diverse locales around the world. Seeing the worldwide demand for knowledgeable permaculture consultants and teachers increase exponentially, as fuel and fertiliser prices skyrocket and the effects of climate change, soil depletion and water shortages begin to hit hard, priority and focus is now shifting back to the Institute, where growing the training program will increase the output of quality teachers to help fill the growing need for them.

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