“Honey, these are tongs, but I am really happy to see you.”
We are connecting. When I go around town, there are people that I’ve met at the market, or met at the farm stand. I see them all over the place. I feel so popular. They are like, “Hey, hi” I don’t even know if we share the same religious or political beliefs, but we’re still connecting I got to tell you, I’m still a little unsettling with all of this. When we have dinner parties, it is so hard to keep the conversation shallow. There’s something about buying the food from your farmer, knowing where it comes from, preparing it yourself.
Somehow it compels us to be open and honest with one another. Open and honest. For a guy that’s spent his life being a pretender and a poser, darn, it’s kind of vulnerable. Maybe a little dangerous. But it’s not just me. The Farm to Table, Farm to Mouth, Farm to Fork, whatever you want to call it – it’s not just marketing; it’s real. It’s subtle, but it’s real and it’s powerful.
For instance, in 2013, there was a literature review that found that the elderly and aging who gardened have a lower incidence of pain, lower needs for medication, higher cognition and they’re generally happier. And returning veterans who participate in farm programs are finding that they have lower experience of PTSD and they are reintegrating into civilian culture easier. But it’s not just about those who have obvious trauma or challenges.
Local food can even help a privileged, misguided white guy like me. Businessmen take-note: Harvard Business Review did a study and found negotiations that occur over a meal are 12% more likely to be profitable for both parties. And there are ten times more conversations that happen at a farmers’ market than at the grocery store. I think what that means is if you want to be alone and miserable, don’t go to the farmers’ market. Not a good place to be.
So, it appears that maybe food is worth much more than the calories we’ve been taught to count in. Interesting I know it is. I’ve experienced it and I think you’ll experience it, too, if you haven’t already. In fact, my experience was so compelling that when I found out there was a job available at the Boulder County Farmers’ Market, I went for it. I wanted it so badly. And you may think, “Yeah, big deal, you applied for a job.” But you have to understand, I hadn’t applied for a job since college. Me, apply for a job? I’ll just start another unsuccessful company. But this one, I wanted it bad, and I got it.
It is my dream job. And now I, my staff, and out board have a lot of work to do, because everybody deserves to connect with their food. Everybody deserves to connect with each other and everybody deserves to build a community regardless of how much you make or where you live. But that’s for another talk. Until then, I encourage you to embrace your own community and make your own connections, maybe by doing just one simple thing, like replacing something that you normally buy at the grocery store with something from your farmer, or just go to the farmers’ market.
Whatever you do, I can tell you this – you deserve the biggest, juiciest, hand-picked, field-ripened succulent tomato that you can buy. Now you know how to get it. Go for it!