Saturday, June 23, 2007

Multiple Subtle Ways of Building Community


waiting for coffee
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
Today the South Shore Farmer's Market opened for the season. It's my neighborhood farmer's market. Well, they're not exactly my neighborhood, but its close, and its the one where I'm most likely to run into people I know, my friends, or more accurately, my community.

We stopped by this morning and ran into at least four people we know. It's not exactly the season for the bounty of Wisconsin farming, but all the other vendors were out. Stone Creek Coffee is a little rusty at this being at a farmer's market thing -- they (horrors) ran out and everybody was seriously jonesing for their coffee so they could leisurely walk about sampling people's wares. Not to worry, a van pulled up with the appropriate level of emergency, and, getting our fix, we were on our way.

Don't tell me Bay View isn't "the other East side." We have a crepe maker at our farmer's market for Pete's sake, three bakeries , and all the requisite soap makers, picklers, etc. Plenty of organic offerings. This early in the season, we're looking at beets, tons of salad greens and beans, herbs, all the stuff that's great in the spring. And the Lopez bakery is fast becoming known not only for their baked goods, but their outstanding, addictive tamales.

I so much prefer these little markets as opposed to the giant ones (West Allis, for example). Not that i grudge West Allis's market -- they helped popularize the concept, period. But our own little neighborhood markets do more than just bring the farmers to the 'hood. They bring the people out, on a lovely Saturday morning. The South Shore market usually has some kind of music or performance "officially" going on, its right by the playground. People bring their dogs, their kids, sometimes they don't even buy anything. They just come to check in, to hang out, to have a cuppa and maybe a freshly baked cookie. These little markets solidify, if not build, community.



young busker again
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
After romping on the playground with the kids, (and climbing their favorite tree) we heard some more music. Some local youngsters were busking, and they were quite good. Couldn't tell if they needed the money, or the experience of playing in front of people, but that's Bay View for you. I particularly liked that you couldn't see this one kid's face, he just played his guitar with his Led Zeppelin shirt, looking a bit like Robert Plant himself, (and very conscious of my camera snapping in his face.) He didn't even grimace when somebody dropped a $5 blll in his case and took a few dollars back as change. He'll go far.

Speaking of building community, I've mentioned here that Bucketworks is moving. Just around the corner from where they are now, but it's still a move and they still need muscle. I was at a planning-for-the-move meeting today, and we're set: the move is July 14. Talk about a community -- this is a place where you literally can meet, can make your art, can build your business, and its all affordable. But the reason it's affordable is, that, well, stuff like this relies on volunteer help. Hit Bucketworks' web site to sign up to help out. I know, you could probably just show up that Saturday, but it really does help to know how many people can help and what they can do. I've said this before, we need to take care of our bodies, and Bucketworks helps us take care of our heads.

No snarky commentary from me today. I'm eating a locally baked scone, coming down off my locally roasted coffee buzz, and thinking about the delicious salad i had tonight, with lettuce and spinach grown by the person who sold it to me. That feeds a body and a soul.

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