As we get ready for our fifth edition of Bounty of the Barrens Market, which promises to be the best yet as Jackson's Orchard arrives with fresh peaches and blueberries, perhaps it is time to reflect on what we have accomplished and what we still want to get done. Even though everyone with Sustainable Glasgow is thrilled with the overwhelming success of our first four weeks of Bounty of the Barrens Market, we still want to remind everyone that the market is only the beginning of our plan to make our community better. We want a resilient local economy that can withstand the economic storms in much the same way that our local infrastructure has been able to withstand the lightning and wind storms we experienced over the last couple of weeks. And we are not just going to wish for a sustainable local economy, we are going to design one and work as hard as we must to make that design a reality.
Just a few months ago we methodically designed the Bounty of the Barrens Market and that plan is now a reality. If you have not been to BB&T’s rear parking lot on a Saturday morning to experience the camaraderie, the colors and smells of fresh produce, the succulent cooked food offerings from George J’s, and the sweet sound of music performed by talented locals, then you have missed the new place where our community convenes. You really should not let another Saturday go by without coming to the market.
The market is a great start toward Sustainable Glasgow’s goal of creating a sustainable food economy. We want to encourage more locals who have access to our greatest local resource, fertile land, to use that land to produce food for local consumption. We want to reestablish our ability to feed ourselves as a way to reestablish Glasgow as self-sufficient community instead of just another colony, totally dependent upon the global distribution systems of big-box retail stores for our daily bread. The market is proving that such a sustainable food economy is possible, but we are very far from being able to declare victory on this front. Still, each dollar you spend at the market registers as a vote for the creation of a sustainable local food economy, and we still need more votes.
Another exciting step toward a sustainable local economy is also beginning to evolve at the market. Local folks with the yen to start their own business are beginning to use the market as a small business incubator, and we are completely thrilled with that. As you vote with your pocket book at the Bounty of the Barrens Market, you are electing local folks who may soon be opening a full time business on Main Street. Those businesses will hire staff and hire local plumbers and electricians who will purchase supplies from other local businesses who, in turn, will hire more local folks. This is the manifestation of the “dollar multiplier effect” that is the real reason why we all should purchase what we need locally.
Can all of this flow from a simple idea and a small Saturday morning market? We think so. Big is not the answer to everything. We tend to agree with Kentucky’s own Wendell Berry who said, “We need to confront honestly the issue of scale. Bigness has a charm and a drama that are seductive, especially to politicians and financiers; but bigness promotes greed, indifference, and damage, and often bigness is not necessary. You may need a large corporation to run an airline or to manufacture cars, but you don't need a large corporation to raise a chicken or a hog. You don't need a large corporation to process local food or local timber and market it locally.”