The Farmville Farmers Market Needs The Lima Beans To Lay Down With The Lovage

Published 3:29 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Who’s got the olive seeds?

Let’s find that person and plant every one of those seeds all around the Farmville farmers market.

Not for the olives, themselves, or their oil.

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Plant them for the branches.

Even just one olive branch.

An olive branch to be held, simultaneously, by the Town of Farmville and the group of local producers who once were the heart and soul of the farmers market.

Actually, we don’t need to plant olive seeds because the Town of Farmville is asking that group of local producers to return to the farmers market.

“I’d like council to offer the farmers market group that’s out there at STEPS, ask them to come back, we’d like them to participate in this market,” Town Manager Gerald Spates said during last week’s August Town Council work session. “There’s no reason for them not to be part of the farmers market.”

Mayor David E. Whitus would ask, “Do you have a specific way of extending that invitation or olive branch?”

Spates said he was going to deliver it face to face later in the day.

That’s the only olive branch needed at the North Street facility.

We hope the olive branch is accepted, to the benefit of the entire community.

Despite the Town’s grand vision for the facility originally rechristened the Farmville Community Marketplace—though all three signs still proclaim it a farmers market—this summer has not seen the participation by local producers that Town Council envisioned.

Meanwhile, many of those who once sold their produce at the Town’s farmers market facility have been selling their produce at the STEPS building on Saturdays.

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, a farmers market divided against itself cannot stand.

To really stand up and be the kind of farmers market everyone deserves—producers and consumers, alike—the facility needs all of the producers to stand and sell together.

Right now, there is a facility.

And, yes, that facility’s signage labels it a farmers market.

But it’s not really what it claims to be because there are not enough farmers selling their goods there to make “farmers market” anything more than a name only.

“We need to get more participation,” Spates told Town Council.

Pam Butler has offered a really good idea, one that could help bring all of our local producers together on Saturdays at one place and that one place would be the farmers market.

Butler, who made exceptional use of her one and only work session as a temporary member of Town Council, suggested allowing the farmers market facility to be an actual farmers market—a whole farmers market and nothing but a farmers market—on Saturday mornings. Then, in the afternoons after a break for lunch, the North Street facility could become a community marketplace where people could sell things they have made or other non-farmers market goods.

What a good suggestion and one worthy of tilling and cultivating by all parties concerned.

Pick Butler’s idea and put it on the table, on plates and in bowls everywhere, a slice of it on a sandwich, garnish an omelet with it, make a meal of it.

Swallow it whole.

Digest it.

Feel its vitality in your bloodstream.

Butler’s voice should resonate because she has deep roots in the farmers market and among those who once operated it.

“I certainly have been a supporter for the last 15 years. They were instrumental, actually, in me opening up Mainly Clay, because of their encouragement. I’d go hang out at the market and…they were cheering me on. So I feel connected,” she said, “and it’s also painful for me not having them over there.”

She’s not alone.

Separation is painful.

Turn the swords into plowshares.

Let the lettuce lay down with the legumes.