Shoppers are sometimes surprised when we happily send them to other stalls at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market, either for items we don’t grow, or ones we’ve sold out of already. We’ll generally point people in the direction of other Certified Organic operations, like August Organics , or Peas on Earth. It may seem strange to send potential customers to our ‘competition’, but we really don’t view other growers at the Farmers’ market, or even at other markets, as our competition. We’re playing the same game, but not against each other. We are competing with the big-box stores – the giant multi-national corporations like Safeway, Walmart and Superstore. Even if you’re not shopping with us, we’re happy that you’re choosing to spend your hard-earned dollar at a farmers’ market, and making a choice not to buy-in to the industrial food system.
You may be wondering what this all has to do with the shirts. Well, these shirts are a belated wedding gift from Dan and Christine Vriend, the owner-operators of August Organics. In BC, especially on the Vancouver Island, there are many organic growers with farms close together, making it easier to create a community of sharing ideas. Here in Alberta, we’re spread out all over this vast province, so we have to take advantage of any chance we get to talk and share ideas with each other.
At the annual general meeting for the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market Society, we were chatting with Dan Vriend during one of the breaks. Actually, Dan and Dawn were doing most of the talking. To be honest, my mind was focused elsewhere (more specifically, on the delicious beet and goat cheese sandwich the caterer provided). They were talking about the different tractor attachments that can be used to break up a new patch of soil to start getting it ready for planting, and I overheard Dawn say that she doesn’t know a lot about the different tools available, because she’s not really a farmer, but more of a gardener, just on a larger scale.
My ears, of course, perked up at the opportunity for a bit of word play. I interjected myself back into the conversation, letting them know that what we are is ‘Fargeners’. We all had a good laugh about that, and thought that was as far as it would go. Last week, though, Dan and Christine were getting some shirts made for their market staff, and were kind enough to get some personalized ones for Dawn and I. It apparently took a bit of convincing to get their print company to put a non-existent word onto the shirts (they kept insisting it was an error), but they were finally able to convince them that yes, ‘fargener’ was exactly what they wanted on the shirts. We love them!
So yes, we love it when you come to market and shop at our stall, but in truth we just love the fact that you’re taking the time to come down to a farmers’ market to do at least some of your shopping locally. The only way we can start to get away from the unhealthy (financially as well as physically) industrial food system is to let our dollars do the talking.
We hope to see you at market!