Monday, 8 April 2013

Finding Connection

Our family escaped to the back country this winter to disconnect from our lives, enjoy some incredible scenery, do some fun athletic winter things, and connect with each other. It was an unusual escape because the place we were winding up at had no wifi, no internet and no cell service. In fact, while we were there, one of the main roads was closed by an avalanche. Yup, we were pretty removed from our day to day reality. There was no choice but to connect with each other. And believe it or not, our teens survived.

So often in our modern world we are disconnected:
  • We are disconnected from each other ~ despite having multiple electronic devices that give the illusion of being "connected" to each other (through email and social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), we are not truly interacting in deeply meaningful ways, and so we are not truly connected.
  • We are disconnected from our communities ~ by going home, driving into our garages and shutting our doors behind us we don't see and communicate with each other and many of us feel far too busy to take (or make) the time to participate in community events.
  • We are disconnected from our family members ~ by retreating into our entertainment devices (movies, tvs, gaming, social media, even books), we are disconnecting, even at home, from those we love and live with.

Now I'm not saying that these devices, these comforts and benefits of living in the modern world, are all bad. Used wisely and in a limited way they can greatly enhance our lives and the lives of those around us. But they can be a crutch, and a source of disconnection. And because we are easily and often disconnected from each other, we don't really forge those deeply valuable connections that build a strong, vibrant community. 

Your local farmers' market is a place to do this. It is one of those rare gems in our society where everything just comes together perfectly: people, stories, relationships, colours, artistry, creativity, wonderment, excitement, deliciousness, a sense of connection and of belonging... All of these things bring meaning to our lives. So plan on making your community market a regular habit and...

  • meet family and friends at a food truck for dinner
  • run into your neighbours walking down the isles between the farmers' market stalls
  • have a great conversation with a friend you haven't seen for a while over a beautiful piece of jewellery at an artisan's stall
  • laugh with your kids as you make a newspaper pot craft and plant seeds at our up-coming Garden Festival
  • ride your bikes to the market together and see your community from a different perspective
  • have a great conversation with a vendor about what they make, how they make it, and why they love doing it... and make a new friend
  • meet community members for the first time at the Community Engagement Tent and find out what else is happening in and around your neighbourhood
  • meet strangers with common interests as you wait in line at a food truck or a vendor's stall
  • bask in the vibrancy of the market's atmosphere and know that you are living in a healthy, connected community

Going to a farmers' market isn't just about shopping and eating (though those are two of its amazing benefits!!). It's about conversations, connections, adding meaning to your life and building relationships.... and that's also, coincidentally, what it takes to forge healthy communities and engaged societies where where people can lead fulfilling, enjoyable and rewarding lives. A local market can provide mental and physical health. It can nourish us in many ways.

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Contributed by Sheri Hendsbee

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