Eds Note: Kevin Korpela, of the Downtown Grocery fame had a few comments on the post “Deep Economy and Happiness,” but I felt its length and importance made it worthy of its own post. Here’s Kevin.
By Kevin Korpela
The individuals/events noted in the post, “Deep Economy and Happiness,” such as Kat and Tony in Athens mentioned by Brendan, the River Drive Farmer’s Market mentioned by Jim, and the return of a re-tooled River District Marketplace on the 400 Block, are examples that can help break the routine in our search for the happiness that is thought to be missing. Fortunately, Central Wisconsin is home to a number of active participants working to nurture community-minded, local-food, and “deep economy” concepts to help find again a new/old state of well-being. The primary vehicle to source a new-old way of thinking as outlined by Bill McKibben might be the return to local economy models. Three active participants — Moonshadow Farm, Farmshed.org, and Downtown Grocery — share with those individuals/events stated above the ability to nurture local-food economy concepts through earth-friendly practices, community organizing, and old-fashioned ideas:
Blaine Tornow and his Moonshadow Farm CSA, , located just west of Wausau is a farm that has been certified organic since 1990. The farm and its connection to people is important to Blaine as he reaches into the community by working with school teachers, such as Mrs Wisse at South Mountain School, to organize farm tours for elementary kids while lending new goslings to the kids to give them a hint of the responsibility and efforts required by farmers to tend the earth and its creatures.
Farmshed is a start-up association working to strengthen farm-to-market connections through community events, farmer presentations, public discussions and targeted projects. This grass-roots organization formed in January 2007 soon after the announcement by Sen. Julie Lassa, Stevens Point, on her plan to lead a “Buy Local, By Wisconsin” Campaign, SB 89. Farmshed is a diverse group of individuals (including farmers, professors, students, and a chef) have met regularly since January to organize a structure, a vision and a mission to grow farm-to-market awareness. Farmshed has successful organized three community events in the past two months and this past week the Steering Committee met as-a-whole for the first time to share ideas and organize its future and its relation to the community.
DowntownGrocery is nine-month old neighborhood grocery store that is trying to combine the best notions of a farmer market experience with the seven-day-a-week advantages of a grocery store and a commercial kitchen. More important perhaps, the store has its own farm and it offers a farm (Moonshadow Farm and its many farmer friends) its own grocery store. The conversational phenomenon of a lively farm market has been witnessed in this store not only by me but by a good number of the store’s customers and staff. It’s sort of an old-fashioned “corner” grocery plus an everyday farmer’s market building community through sharing real food with good conversation while nurturing a local-food economy. The store, of course, is just a small start-up retail store, so there’s plenty ideas to implement but it strives for those Deep Economy concepts explained for “…truly working together not only to make a living, but also to build community in a real sense.”
Many in our society follow routines or seek isolation in the hopes of finding happiness. The examples cited in Bill’s post suggest that there are a number of citizens offering opportunities and options, each in their unique way, to help break routines and encourage conversations to find again that new/old state of well-being. Those opportunities and options include notions of earth-friendliness, community organizing, old-fashioned ideas, and the hopeful return of the viability and vitality of the family farm and its direct farm-to-market connection.