We wake up every morning to the sound of vegetable vendors on street carts. We walk down our narrow streets, filled with the fragrance of fresh coriander. We are surrounded by vegetables and fruits day in and day out that we take it for granted. The same is not the case in the cities in USA. Though variety is never a debate, shopping for grocery and vegetables in huge supermarkets is the regular habit here. Not ‘fresh’ by any Indian standard, the goods in supermarket may well be transported from a state 3000 miles away, hence adding a fuel surcharge to the vegetables, which consumers may or may not be aware of.
With the objective of promoting local products and giving the local farmers an opportunity, the Dane County Farmers’ Market is a huge event that is held every Saturday in Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin. Madison, a lovely university town, is the capital of the State of Wisconsin, USA, which is known for dairy, beer and Harley-Davidsons.
What started as a weekly tradition in 1972, has now grown into the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the United States. One can find the season’s best bounty of vegetables, flowers, and specialty products from approximately 300 vendors throughout the year. The farmers market not only provides consumers with a wonderful variety of fresh and tasty produce, mostly organic, it also gives an opportunity for farmers and people from urban communities to deal directly with each other rather than through third parties, and to thereby get to know and learn from one another. An event which raises the consciousness of people about sustainable living, it is informative and educative, apart from being just a market.
The concept of a vegetable market being an ‘event’ may be alien to us. But, what makes the Dane County Farmers Market a grandiose event is the fact that it is a huge social gathering, bringing together farmers, vendors, marketers, campaigners, artists, musicians and, more than anything, consumers every Saturday. The event is also a place where many non-profit organisations educate people about the causes they are working for. With the elections one month away, the event is a place for political campaigning and education too!
Arts and craft vendors, designers find their nook in this event by sharing designer clothing, accessories, home decor items and plenty more. Local restaurants, coffee shops set up their stalls and promote their products. Let us not leave out the street musicians, who provide live entertainment to the crowds walking around.
Whether it is the University choir group singing and collecting money to ‘sponsor their trip to Europe’, or a young guitarist advertising ‘available to play at private parties’, a team of roller-bladers enrolling students for blading classes, or a man trying to sell ‘Expressions Journal’, a fair trade coffee stall or a pumpkin vendor, a bakery with more than 50 types of pies, or the famous Wisconsin Cheese stall, a performance by the Scottish Dancing group or a spray painting artist, this event is a fun gathering you do not want to miss out on. Rain or sunshine (and let us not forget the snow), this market is eventful, week after week in Madison.
For more information, check http://www.dcfm.org
Event Faqs has published this story here.