Here is another reason for me to heap praise on the Homer Farmers Market. The community-building atmosphere there does not end with the locally grown food and the ability to run into everyone you know in town there on a given Saturday. It also integrates kids as part of that community.
Last Saturday I wandered over to the Kids’ Zone on the west side of the Market. It is a subtle space tucked on the edge of all the bustle of the Market, surrounded by alders and a fishnet fence to keep out moose.
Parents were chatting in a circle in the middle. One grandparent was getting an update from her grandson before he ran back to his activity. An intern from the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies was instructing a group of kids on a project that involved tissue paper and large amounts of glue.
Then there was the garden. All around the edge of the space are garden beds with varying stages of herbs and veggies. A couple of girls were delicately pouring water from a watering can into tea cups and gently dosing the plants for their sustenance.
And then there was Ryan. Almost 3 years old, his watering can was almost bigger than he could handle. Trudging over to the beds with the cumbersome vessel, he tipped it over the side of the bed, generously soaking the plants, the frame of the bed and himself. Over and over he returned with adorable dedication.
The last garden bed in the circle is actually a sandbox and out of it grew more kids than a clown car can hold.
This weekend the Market is hosting Kids’ Vending Day, the chance for kids to have a booth and sell their homemade wares. If you know an entrepreneurial child, they can call Robbi at 299-7540 to reserve a space.
Or if your kids just want to have fun, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies will be making squids with recycled materials.
So if you want to see how a great community grows its kids, head on down to the Market Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.