Tomorrow starts the new season for the Slippery Rock Community Farmer's Market (SRCFM). The theme for this season is "Grow by Growing". I'm particularly excited for the new season, as I have been preparing to participate as a vendor. This is a bit of a homecoming for me, as I attended regularly the first two years, mainly selling sprouts and pizzelles. If I recall correctly, it has already been ten years since we were in the unpaved parking lot behind the bank on the main corner of Slippery Rock. Most days I would come home with no more money in my pocket but with a lot of different produce.
This is the earliest it has ever started, and at the beginning they will be selling seedlings to raise funds for the market. I will have a few of my own seedlings to sell this year, although if I don't sell any, I'll go ahead and use them myself. (That is a major part of my "business plan", to literally "eat my losses". I won't expand beyond what I can use until I'm sure others want to buy my stuff.) I also have packaged up some biochar to sell; I've been holding back from using it myself in case people want to buy any. (Don't worry, I will give you the full details on biochar in a future post -- hopefully with pictures.)
I tried last year to get into selling at the farmer's market in a major way, to the extent of buying a 10x20 foot greenhouse. I knew my place was windy but didn't realize how major a problem it was until I found the twisted wreckage of the greenhouse lying next to my house, one side still attached to the ground. I realized then that I would need to focus on staying low to the ground. I've been building frames and planter boxes for that, a few of which I will have on display tomorrow if people want to order them. I've actually had decent success starting seedlings in the cheap plastic peat pellet greenhouses, surrounded by 2x6 frames with a lath lattice on top.
This may seem like shameless self-promotion, and to a certain extent so far it has been. But there is a larger trend here. At the organizational meetings for the SRCFM, there have been a lot of new faces -- not just new to Slippery Rock, new to any market. As the global economy deteriorates, and as food prices rise, more people are looking to make money by selling to their neighbors, and more people are looking to save money by buying from them. Cutting out all the processing, transportation, and middlemen is a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers, and it helps build local economies while lessening the risk of global shocks.
Going to the local market to buy locally grown food and locally produced goods will become more frequent on the Long Ascent.