Farm to Fork: Fostering Connections with WFM2Go
By Avery Peters
Like many who live in Wolfville, the Farmers’ Market was a place where I immediately found community when I moved here over 5 years ago. A farmers’ market can seem intimidating to some who do not like big crowds or crowded places. I am an introvert, and admit, despite my wholehearted support of small farmers and the market, to not always feeling like putting out the social energy required to go to the market. However, other days I am totally energized and soak up every minute of running into friends and discussing various crops and farming practices with farmers at their booths. The WFM2Go program provides an alternative that complements visits to the market and enables us to support our local small farmers even when we can’t make it or don’t feel up to getting out on a Saturday morning. I have loved being able to pick up my order on Wednesday afternoons, when it’s all conveniently sitting there waiting for me.
When Lindsay Clowes, the WFM2Go Coordinator, invited me to their Farm to Fork event I knew I had to go. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited to see what happens behind the scenes of WFM2Go and how my order is packed each week. I was also looking forward to visiting Emily teBogt’s farm to see where all the beautiful bok choy (amongst other vegetables) I’ve been enjoying all spring and fall has been coming from. We started out our morning by touring her greenhouse, pastures, and her vegetable field. She discussed how infrastructure like greenhouses and generators has been essential during the past two growing seasons, and the difficulties adapting to climate change. After some discussion of her background in farming, she showed us the insulated shipping container that she has set up as her vegetable cooler where she stores produce until she brings it to the market. As she loaded up her van to bring the WFM2Go orders to the market, she said that WFM2Go has been great for her, giving her a midweek income in addition to the Saturday market, and it keeps her harvesting her fields throughout the week. WFM2Go has also expanded the reach of all the other farmers who are involved in the program.
After Emily loaded up her van we all drove back to the market, where we could see her and all the other farmers filling up the bins with all the orders, and we had time to mingle with others present for the event that day. We sat down in anticipation of a meal prepared by Chef Nelson Penner (which was a gorgeous chef’s salad – pleasing to the eyes and palate). We had a lively discussion with those at our table about what local food means to us, which was followed by a discussion panel of small farmers who are also part of WFM2Go. There is so much that I have to share from our discussion and the panel that I will be writing more about it in a future issue of The Grapevine.
After the event, it seems surprising that I didn’t know what to expect. There is a reason that we get together with others, whether it be at church, through sports, or at the market, and a lot of it has to do with community. I feel like this event solidified this community in more ways that even a Saturday morning market visit can. I found a deeper sense of connection to others at my table who also support small farmers through the market and found a deeper connection to the farmers after hearing more of their stories.
I hope that the WFM2Go market team has the resources and energy to do this type of event again, because I think this type of connection can help our community thrive, and to see where our food comes from, who grows it, and appreciate the land that we live on. Food is what brings us together in so many ways.