Markets: past, present, and future?

There is something about a market. There is just this feeling . Call us new-agey, or hokey, or just plain romantic, but we just love a good, community run market. There is  sense of balance and oneness with the world and your neighbours that you get that you just cannot get at the mall, or at any conventional shopping megalith. 

Every purchase counts. Every interaction means something.. perhaps it does sound trite to think of it that way, but in these times, it has become a bit of an old fashioned, dying thing.. 

In developing and less well off countries, or in communities more rooted in tradition such as those in Europe- markets are a way of life. They are not making a comeback, it would seem absurd. If anything the big box chains edging their way into every part of the word (some times devastatingly so ..) are heralded as the big shiny new thing, and perhaps in some cases there is an advancement that comes with that .. the creation of jobs and industry.. but at what cost ???

In Europe, street markets are the norm - there is not one single government-run one monoplozing the whole city! Farming Co-ops spring up everywhere, flea markets appear and disappear on a new sidewalk every week.. .. to a wondrous effect.

 But we in Canada, have a completely different perspective. With sky-rocketing rent, rising household debt, and a sluggish minimum wage, not everyone can afford the quality that comes from buying local, and buying fresh. As backwards as it seems, fresh, healthy and locally made are luxuries. This is so infuriating and confusing. Shouldn't it be the given, the norm, to have ethical products and healthy food available to the average citizen?. Why is it cheaper to buy crap?

well - because its crap!! 

Add to that, that the average small business could never afford to open up shop on Bernard or Pandosy as they are now.. and more and more we will witness the closing of historic, local landmarks such as cinemas and bodegas, coffee shops and vintage stores to make way for the likes of multitdes of chain restaurants.. the only ones that can afford the prime real estate- and thus those that get the most street traffic and attention.. 

And so the cycle begins, pulling us ever away from our roots, 

We seem to be a bit of a city divided on what it means to be a local. 

I think we really truly need to make more of an effort to shop locally. So vote with your dollars.. ask 'where was this made' more often, Support the Farmers Market, the local shops hidden away on the side streets of the downtown core, Urban Harvest, local wineries and Fruit Stands. The list goes on and on - it is possible to live locally, and its actually really fun! See if you can go a month with out buying anything made in China, see if you can east a 100 mile diet all summer long (in the Okanagan- easy!!) Have fun with it, support your community and it will support you, 

 

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The Community Vibe

When this market first got off the ground, it was noticed that we all had an an unusually close, immediate bond. I remember feeling really at home, really relaxed and accepted from the get go. It can be really hard to make friends and connections in this size of a town, as an adult , and in this modern, disconnected age. And it didn't feel like this forced, false sort of benevolent competition.. like you see so often now, between neighbours, or at the gym or yoga studio.. between colleagues at work..  It felt like a family-  The day before we were complete strangers, and here we are laughing our asses off with each other, teasing and bugging each other like siblings- 'And I think thats really special, I think it speaks volumes,  to what we are trying to create here.. 

 And I think that vibe resonates with people in the community.. people that want to be a part of a community...