Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Corn, Carrots and Community

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in June and you just caught up with a friend who you
haven’t seen in a while, had a delicious lunch alfresco, bought fresh, local ingredients
for your dinner, and left feeling more connected with the community than when you first
arrived. Where were you? At the Braintree Farmer’s Market, of course!

Entering it’s third year, the Farmer’s Market has become a local favorite for one stop
shopping on Saturday mornings from June through October. We have local produce,
cheese, breads and baked goods, cookies, pies, meat, fish, eggs, sauces, prepared
foods to enjoy at our cafe, equal exchange coffee and tea, natural body products, and
much, much more. However, we have something that no store could ever provide
- community! The farmer’s market is a place for everyone, young and old, of all
backgrounds and experiences to come together once a week to shop, socialize and

The most concrete representation of community at the market is our Community
Table. This is a place for market-goers to learn about what others are doing FOR
our community IN our community. The Community Table is staffed each week by
a different non-profit local organization and manned by volunteers. The purpose
of the table is to offer local groups the opportunity to educate the public about their
mission, and our hope is that our shoppers feel more connected with the community
as a result. In the past we’ve had the Braintree Food Pantry collecting nonperishable
food donations, the Friends of the Thayer Public Library collecting used books for their
ongoing book sale (recycling!), and South Shore Habitat for Humanity showcasing their
latest project and recruiting volunteers. There is always plenty of information at the
table about what the group has done, as well as a friendly volunteer willing to fill you in
on the latest initiative.

Our Sustainable Braintree tent which doubles as the Market Manager tent, is also in the
market weekly and is staffed by volunteers ready to help you with any market related
questions. The table is stocked with information about Sustainable Braintree’s four
task forces (Farmer’s Market, Community Garden, Energy and Recycling), and it is
here that you can sign up to volunteer at the market, become a member of Sustainable
Braintree, or buy this year’s newly designed Braintree Farmer’s Market T-Shirt or
shopping bag (you are going to love the new design!). In past years we have had a
lightbulb exchange program for Braintree residents as well. Each household was able
to trade up to 5 working incandescent bulbs for 5 brand new compact florescent light
bulbs (CFLs) for free!

So next time you’re shopping at the Farmer’s Market, stop by the Community Table
and the Sustainable Braintree tent and learn about what others are doing to make our
community a better place. You may find an organization that you believe in and want to
help in some way, or even to volunteer. But whatever the result, you’ll be going home
with a lot more than just fresh produce.

We are currently scheduling groups to staff the Community Table during the 2011
season. If you know of a non-profit organization that would like participate, please e-

Angela Cavanaugh is a member of the Braintree Farmer's Market Committee and the Community Table coordinator.