The Whole Food Story

When we leave our homes in search of food or clothing or services, we tend to assume that the best way to proceed is to look for value, for the best, meaning lowest price for what it is we need or desire. But when we seek out a friend, a church, a partner, or a home, we would be scandalized if someone told us he or she was looking for the cheapest one. Why do we think this is a good idea, then, when we buy food? I think many of us have friends and relatives who seem perplexed by shopping at the farmers market where it appears that fruits and vegetables are more expensive.

Food is probably the most intimate connection we have with the earth and sharing it with others one of the intimate connections we have with those we care about. We eat three times a day and with whom we eat and what we eat are profound decisions about what we value. At the farmers market, we can not only find food but we can find and promote love and passion for personal health; ecological restoration; carbon reduction; belonging; revitalization of rural landscapes and communities; and livable economies and communities, among many other things.

This week at the market there will be a chance to sample a chef’s salad made with produce available from our vendors. The lettuce, cucumbers, ham, eggs, green onions and radishes are not the same as those that come in bags at the grocery store, for they have been grown on farms where the health of the soil and animals is as important as the health of people and by farmers who are willing to work hard and produce a higher quality, more nutritious, longer lasting product in lower quantity for the same reasons you want a good friend, loving partner or safe community. And they are willing to do all of this for less money than they might get from another kind of farming or another career.

The Greek roots of our word “economy” mean household management. Most of us would not dream of managing our households based on cheapness alone. If we did so, we would not expect to flourish. In Madeira, on a weekly basis, you can shop our market and bring love, friendship, stewardship, safety, and a wide variety of other values to your shopping, your meals, and your family and friends.

Kathleen Smythe
  Advisory Board Member
Professor of History & Sustainability