Letter to the Editor

LETTER: Linton Farmers' Market kicks off June 4

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

To the Editor:

No matter where we live, it's difficult to see it with fresh eyes. I've heard of people living in amazing places -- like Paris, France or next to the Rocky Mountains -- and still falling into a routine where the remarkable becomes mundane. Can you imagine driving by the Eiffel Tower every day on the way to work, and not noticing it because it's part of your daily routine?

It makes sense, I suppose. We all do it.

We live in Greene County, Ind., possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth, but because it's normal to us, sometimes we lose sight of what we have here. I am trying my hardest to wake up and see the truly remarkable things surrounding us here every day. I look around and I am continuously surprised by two things: our bountiful earth, and our hungry population.

What do I mean by that? I mean we are surrounded by some of the most fertile topsoil in the world. This place is teeming with life. Our land feeds the world, but somehow we aren't feeding ourselves. We have become so disconnected from the most basic process of growing the food that we eat or even buying it directly from the farmers who do. On top of losing that connection to the earth, we are increasingly disconnected from each other. Our modern lives make it easier than ever to live in isolation. We are hungry not just for good food, but for community.

When was the last time you stepped outside and touched the beautiful, black soil beneath your feet? When was the last time you filled your plate with locally grown vegetables? When was the last time you made time to get out and talk to people who live around you?

My personal passion for our land and the food that we eat has found a great outlet in the Linton Farmers' Market. The market is like an alarm clock to me, ringing loudly to wake us up to the wonders of where we live, the people who live here and the food they can produce.

At times, it's been a great struggle establishing a farmers' market in our community. There have been those that said it wouldn't work or that some people just don't care about local, healthy food. But I've found great partners in helping me build community over the past three years, not the least of which has been Greene County General Hospital. We work very hard to bring great vendors to our market every season, and the hospital has helped us build programs that connect us to each other. Last year, they piloted a program called Fit and Greene -- fitness classes held during the market to encourage people to get out and get connected to their bodies, their food and their neighbors. It was wonderfully successful, and I'm looking forward to the boost the market will get this year from expanding that program. That kind of leadership and partnership helps us amplify that wake up call, bringing our people out not just into the market but into the community.

There is real leadership happening in Greene County, providing opportunities for us to shake off the grind of work, eat, sleep, repeat, and reinvent what it means to live here.

I challenge myself every day to wake up and look around at this amazing place and truly see it. My hope is that the Linton Farmers' Market will continue to call people out and reconnect them with the food and community they are craving. Together with the good partners we have - like the Hospital, the Linton Park Board, the dozens of amazing vendors - I hope we will all start to realize how blessed we are to live here, and wouldn't it be great if that became our routine?

The Linton Farmers' Market will operate every Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, starting June 4th through September 24th, in Humphreys City Park. Hope to see you there.

Mark Stacy