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Why I Love Farmville — Susie Thomas

Susie Thomas is the Lead Pastor Farmville United Methodist Church.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN FARMVILLE, AND WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER NOTICING ABOUT THE AREA?

A: My husband and I moved to Farmville in June of 2020. I’m a fan of healthy older downtowns, and I must say I rejoiced inwardly when I saw restaurants, coffee shops, furniture stores and other small businesses doing well, even during the pandemic.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FARMVILLE MEMORY?

A: While I haven’t had much time yet to make my Farmville memories, the ones I’m hoping to make will surely involve some combination of neighbors, Longwood, downtown and the High Bridge Trail.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE FARMVILLE GROW OR CHANGE IN THE FUTURE?

A: I’d love to see our downtown remain healthy, with a good, diverse ecosystem of businesses and attractions — I think an independent bookshop would really contribute to the retail mix. And even more importantly, I’d like to see a greater focus on the contributions of the African-American community. The reckoning with Farmville’s civil rights history that is so compellingly on display at the Moton Museum and on our Civil Rights Heritage Trail, that reckoning is still going on, 70 years after Barbara Johns led the Moton walkout. We need to talk more, across the line of race and the other lines that divide us.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE PEOPLE OF FARMVILLE TO OTHERS WHO ARE NOT FROM HERE?

A: Very welcoming! My husband and I were overwhelmed with the kindness of our new neighbors when we were newly-arrived: Garden veggies and gift cards and home-baked goodies appeared daily on our porch. This town appreciates the gifts that new people can bring and doesn’t “circle the wagons” against non-natives, as we’ve experienced in other smaller towns.

IF YOU HAD TO LEAVE FARMVILLE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU MISS THE MOST?

A: The slower pace of life — the walkability of our town — and the super-nice people.

IF YOU HAD TO TAKE A PICTURE TO REPRESENT FARMVILLE TO THOSE OUTSIDE OUR AREA, WHAT WOULD THAT PICTURE BE?

A: Hmm. Hard to choose — ours is a pretty photogenic little town. I guess I’d take a photo from the top of the Weyanoke that shows off our beautiful, old-but-vibrant Main Street, Longwood’s lovely campus and, of course, historic Farmville United Methodist Church.