Thursday, August 13, 2015

Webb City Sentinel market column - 8/14/15

OK, I give up. Where has the summer gone?  School’s back in session and fall is not far behind. And though I feel like I’ve been playing catch up all summer, I think I’ll just admit I’ll never catch up and be glad to see pumpkins, sweet potatoes and fall leaves. Maybe things will slow down (though with both of my daughters moving and renting or selling their houses and me being the official family house painter, I have a feeling I’m going to be pretty busy this fall. In case you’re interested, Cora is moving from Perth to Brisbane, Australia, which are about 5 hours apart by air, and Emily is moving from Indianapolis to Denver).

But what you really need to know is that even though school has begun, the market produce is still rolling in and we’ll need lots of customers to buy it. So don’t abandon your healthy, delicious diet and your farmers now. (photos are of the charming helpers at Harmony Hill Farm)

Last week I wrote about the market being a “third place”. Ironically, I received a call this week from Project for Public Spaces. They are an international nonprofit based in New York that promotes great public spaces (in other words, they specialize in creating great third places) and works with cities and towns to develop them. Our market received its first big grant from PPS and it was transformational. It was 2007 and marked the beginning of our extensive farmer education efforts, the expansion and improvement of the pavilion, the structuring of our organization, putting in place a fee structure to make us sustainable and securing our 501(c)3 status with the IRS. We’ve had little contact since 2008 but I get their digital newsletter and apparently they’ve been keeping track of us. 

PPS is developing materials and technical advice for the National Main Street Center which works all over the country helping towns revitalize their downtown districts. The Webb City market is to be one of PPS’s model markets for the program. During our conference call I described various programs and aspects of the market and Kelly, the PPS contact, commented over and over again that our challenges and subsequent successes mirrored exactly what their national consultants had identified as the characteristics of a high-functioning market. Nice to be doing it right, even by accident. It is, however, no accident that the market has tremendous support from members of the community and the market who give solid advice and help us accomplish our goals.

So what are we doing this week?  Today the Sours play traditional music. Lumpy’s Express and M & M Bistro serve lunch.

Tomorrow Cooking for a Cause is served by the local chapter of Bereaved Parents of the USA. Bereaved Parents of the USA was founded in 1995 by a group of bereaved parents from across the country. Their sole purpose was to offer support, understanding, encouragement and hope to other bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents after the death of their children, brother, sister or grandchildren. 

I think most of us would agree that the death of a child is probably the worst thing a parent could face, even if that child is an adult. My own parents lost my older brother, Bobby, the week before he was to enter college. They never faced anything harder and though they went on to lead full productive lives, it was a loss that was always deeply felt.
So, come support this group of people who have faced the worst life can throw at them and who, to paraphrase their web site, celebrate the lives of their children, share the joys and the triumphs as well as the love that will never fade, and offer what they have learned from each other to every more recently bereaved family.

Bill Adkins will play. Music and meal run from 9 to 11. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 to noon.

Tuesday is our last Free Supper for Kids. We’re sticking with the popular menu of sloppy Joes, melon, cherry tomatoes and milk. It’s served from 5 to 6:30 in the Kids’ Tent.  The Tuesday market itself will continue until the end of October.

Carmine’s Pizza is baking in their portable wood fired oven and they’ll be ready for a crowd because the Globe is doing a story on them Sunday. Trish is serving meatloaf starting at 5. Rob Pommert is playing in the pavilion. Cowboy Marshall Mitchell will entertain in the tent.  

Here are a few other things coming up. On Thursday morning, August 20, the first graders at Webster School will walk down to the Kids Garden to dig the potatoes they planted last spring as kindergarteners. Adult volunteers are welcome to supervise as they dig for treasure.

On Saturday, September 19, we celebrate Arts in the Park. We are looking for individuals and organizations to lead children’s arts activities, as well as artists to demonstrate or sell their work. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with Cooking for a Cause that day. It will benefit our own Webb City Parks. If you’d like to take part, stop by the information table or email me at

See you soon at the market!