Our food system is incredibly dynamic and complex. Each meal you make is affected by political, environmental, social, economic and cultural trends. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the global challenges we face include climate change, immigration policy, international trade laws, population growth, natural resource management, extreme poverty, conflict and disease. These big issues interact and create systems that often exacerbate humanitarian crises, health pandemics and economic exploitation. These systems tend to strip the natural environment while leaving billions of people suffering from chronic nutritional illnesses, including malnutrition, obesity and diabetes. It will take a cultural revolution to resist agricultural systems that fail to nourish the land and its people.
The seeds of resistance are planted at home. As artist and activist Ricardo Levins Morales writes, “The seeds of resistance are unlike any other seed mix: best when planted together, they will grow under any conditions at any time of year. Although yields may vary from season to season, tended carefully the harvest is sure to include many complementary varieties, from climate justice and racial equity to trans and queer liberation, dignity for migrants, improved labor conditions and much, much more. Plant some in your community garden!” In 2019, let’s learn how to tend our community garden together.
It’s important to remember gardening isn’t an action; it’s an ongoing practice of creating environments that foster growth. Food justice is not an action or position, it’s a practice. How can we practice food justice in a way that nourishes the land and people we care about? There are many ways to practice, and getting involved at your neighborhood farmers market is one of them. Your neighborhood farmers market offers a unique opportunity to practice food justice. Building relationships with your farmers and neighbors is key to building a strong local food system. Every market day, you can learn from each other about everything from seasonal recipes to indigenous land rights to horticultural science to herbal medicine to the consequences of the Farm Bill.
You don’t have to wait until summer to get started. As you may know, Neighborhood Roots is a nonprofit that runs farmers markets year round in South Minneapolis. Our mission is to bring neighbors together to buy, eat and learn about food. We support local farmers and small businesses, promote vibrant community and effect important changes in food and agricultural policy. Mark your calendars for our upcoming Winter Markets on Saturday January 26th, Saturday February 23rd and March 23rd. Our indoor markets take place at Bachman’s on Lyndale from 9am to 1:30pm. Stock up on root vegetables, gourds, jam, pickles, maple syrup, meat, eggs, cheese and more while supporting three dozen local businesses. Grow those relationships by making the farmers market a part of your weekly routine this year. We operate Kingfield Farmers Market (Sundays) and Fulton Farmers Market (Saturdays) from mid-May through October, as well as Nokomis Farmers Market (Wednesdays) from mid-June through September.
Deepen your practice by volunteering at the market. It takes an amazing team of dedicated volunteers to transform parking lots into vibrant community spaces. We need volunteers to help with operations, programming and community outreach. Your time and energy helps support more than a hundred local farmers and makers, as well as the thousands of folks who love their neighborhood market.
One of our amazing volunteers wrote this about the markets: “Every time you make a local purchase, it’s like tying a tiny thread to your finger that connects you to someone else in the area. That thread is a small part of the web that you create every day, all of the connections you make. Every smile, every donut, every jar of jam — that is what creates community.” Join our community by becoming a volunteer, donor, shopper or vendor this year. See you at the market!