See you there!
The Bow Little Market Ladies will be collecting garden produce for local families in need. You can also come down to the market to learn more about the Helping Hands Food Bank and the Field to Family project on opening day of the market, July 11th.
See you there!
This blog is titled Rural Rhythm Revival because it is meant to celebrate and give voice to our timely activities throughout the seasons in our rural community. With this in mind, I would like to mention that October not only is the time to plant our garlic and shallots, but it is also time to plant the seeds of our informal rural food network in the Samish Watershed. The Bow Little Harvest Market on October 20 was a day of community connections made with hundreds of neighbors gathered around Food Security, community and celebration.
The market is a place to meander and pause amongst neighbors and functions as a temporary village commons, which is largely missing from our rural area. As folks listen to Simme of Poor Man’s Jug Band sing old folk and gospel tunes, eat Carolyn’s delicious gluten-free goodies, shop for local food and wares, or wait for Tom Schoonover of Schoonover Farm to press their cider, there is a space made for informal connections between people. These passing conversations and chance encounters are the seeds of a growing sense of community. Cultivated on the fertile ground of these seemingly superficial, chance encounters, deeper connections between neighbors eventually fruit into greater community resilience. Informal networks flourish while chatting with neighbors. Talking to a man who is passionate about winter gardening, we learn he would be willing to co-teach a class and share which winter greens can be eaten in January without hoop houses or cold frames. Meeting another man who just moved into the area, we learn he has just bought a commercial pasta maker and was thrilled to see that Fairhaven Flour Mill sells bulk Durham wheat. Another woman, who just moved into ‘downtown’ Alger donated her large unused front yard signage to help promote the activities of the Alger Improvement Club, Chuckanut Transition, and the Bow Little Market. Yet another woman shared her dream of getting people together for cooperative food preservation efforts at her house. And many, many more people were excited to learn about the Food Swap and are on board for next year.
Besides creating a temporary village commons for these informal connections, the Market Ladies also create the space for neighbors to gather and wheel-deal their surplus preserves, fresh food and seed. At this year’s 2nd annual Bow Little Market Food and Seed Swap, three varieties of potatoes, sweet meat squash, liberty apples, walnuts, peach pie filling, fresh cider, pickled green beans, sun dried tomatoes, cayenne peppers, stewed plums, peach salsa, cherries, quince, applesauce, blackberry, strawberry, blueberry-lavender, aronia, and hardy kiwi jam, chocolate truffles, boysenberry vinegar, kale seed, oat seed, perennial multiplier onion bulbs, seed shallots and IOU’s for lard and currant bushes passed back and forth across the table.
There were also formal networks made from the Market Ladies intentions to foster buying groups and food shares. Community members organized a sign-up for bulk flour and grains from Fairhaven Mill and Bluebird Grain Farms, organically, locally grown meat birds, beef and pork, Patterned Ground CSA biodynamic produce, hard apple cider, bulk non-GMO seed, as well as goat milk and cheese shares. These buying groups and food shares will be listed on our Bow Little Market website. Soon, you can go to our website to sign up for groups already in existence or suggest a buying group of your own. Just like a tree planted in autumn, throughout fall and winter the roots of these groups will grow and spread, so in the springtime they will be ready to take off and flourish.
The beautiful part of it all is that this is a purely volunteer effort, with community members pitching in to create this handmade market, which exists out of the sheer determination of its volunteers, the commitment of its customers and the commonly held belief that we need to recreate our lost rural village network. Cindy, Cathy and Earl Curry, the owners of the Belfast Feed Store, worked for hours getting the donated barn area cleaned out for the market. The Market Ladies and Men were there at dawn directing vendors, putting up tents and signage, brewing coffee, and setting the table for it all to happen. Rita Ordonez of Community Action food and access programs gave up her Saturday to bring information on food security issues like the Ending Childhood Hunger 1095 Skagit Campaign, Non-GMO Project, and the LaConner Farm to School project that is getting local food into their cafeteria. (For more information you can also read a recent Skagit Valley Herald article on LaConner’s local food to cafeteria effort or go to WSFFN Fresh Food in Schools Project to learn more about other similar projects in Washington State.) The pumpkin pitch team also generously donated their trebuchet skills this year and launched those bright orange orbs to the delight of children and adults both. Finally, to tie together this celebration of children, neighbors, and autumn’s bounty, the musicians generously shared their sound. Chuck Nafziger started us out on flute and Brit Keeton ended our day with her fiddling. The Poor Man’s Jug Band, playing from 12-2, kept an upbeat tempo and led this harvest season’s Rural Rhythm Revival. Thanks to all who participated. The Harvest Market was just more proof that The Bow Little Market isn’t a building or a board of directors; it is the people who commit to gathering at a set location and time on a country road miles away from the city.
Chuckanut Transition Community
We're all rural, independent and capable people learning to live cooperatively with one another and with our natural surroundings while recreating our lost village economic network.