Homer Farmers Market: ‘Food nerd’ enjoys two worlds of farming

I missed the farmers market this weekend. It just so happens that a large conference on food systems and food security was happening in Anchorage at the same time.

While I was geeking out on food system surveys, food justice lectures, and presentations about very detailed and academic analyses on different food topics, folks and Homer were enjoying the market as usual.

It’s interesting to compare the two scenarios. In one location, you have people with dirt under their fingernails exchanging stories and laughter, smiles and greetings, cash and vegetables.

At the conference, there were nicely dressed folks with power points and research papers and mind-blowing discussions about feeding the hungry, growing our economies, and strengthening our social structures around food.

Being a big food nerd, I am able to have fun at both venues. Some of the statistics were startling, such as the fact that the Northeastern United States only has enough open land left to feed approximately one-quarter of their population.

It was inspiring to see how communities around the world are banding together to create food hubs or other cooperative measures for strengthening their local food economy in the face of climate change.

When I’m at the Homer Farmers Market a lot of these big picture concepts are in play in the background but the power of connection with friends and neighbors overshadows all of the big conceptual considerations about Community Health and economic stability.

At the conference however, I had the chance to see how large-scale philosophies and actions can affect the local.

As I met a colleague to pick up potatoes to transfer to a farmer in Kenai, I got a chance to meet his daughter, Kate, who ran the Alaska Grown program at the Division of Agriculture.

According to the latest state budget, Kate just lost her job.

As time goes on we will see how the changes in a discussions at higher levels affect our farmers. May they weather these times so we can continue to have a successful community Farmers Market.

Back here in Homer we will be celebrating the 4th of July with the parade theme of Home(r) Grown.

We know where our food comes from. Go get your own on Saturday from 10 to 3 p.m. or Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. out on Ocean Drive and show your support to our local farmers.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.