Beyond Consumer – Community

Dear Community Member,
A few weeks ago, on a whim, or a fit of procrastination, I responded to a prompt that entered my email inbox in a newsletter from the Cornucopia Institute.  They wondered how farmers address their “patrons”, “customers,” or… what are you?  What are we?  I emailed them back my instinctive answer.  I just found my words and thought I’d share them here:
Dear Community Member,
Beyond consumer  — I’m a farmer who uses the word “community” to describe the group of people I share food with, and who share the farm stand, fields, and dinner table with me.
A single person is a community member.
Participatory.  Alive.  Part of a collective, and still an individual.

The word “community” brings a feeling of whole-hearted togetherness, a fresh, alive, in person, real group, to the idea of collective.
I know the word “community” is not new, but it is an experience that for a short while I think was forgotten.  It is coming back, and just the exact thing that exists when a group is rallying behind food.
When I have a bunch of people at the market stand, they are a community.
When 100 people show up at the farm for a picnic, we form a community.
When nine farm workers sit at a picnic table for dinner, we are a community.
Like in our togetherness, even if made different by our personal choices of a favorite vegetable.
-Beth

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