I recently read Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter. While I thoroughly enjoyed following her adventures as a city farmer in Oakland, California, I vacillated between admiration and guilt. Admiration to the point of researching Roanoke's laws about livestock, and guilt to the point of realizing how far my family has fallen from the agrarian sufficiency of our grandparents and, to some degree, our parents. I don't even grow a garden. The idea of weeding my flower beds in the summer heat makes me hyperventilate. Can you imagine what a whole garden would do to me?
I'm planning on frequenting the West End Community Market, opening in the parking lot of the West End Center for Youth at the corner of Patterson & 13th. That's the neighborhood that's "across the bridge" from us, what Roanoke residents consider a rough part of town. I consider it my neighborhood too - if it's less than a mile from me, if I drive through it every day, it's my neighborhood. My house would fit in right along with the other houses. By an accident of birth, it just happens to be on the other side of the bridge.
So, tomorrow between the hours of 4-7 pm, I'll be riding my bicycle over to the West End Center to sample some local produce. Check out this great article in the Roanoke Times about the Market and how they're even accepting SNAP payments for low-income families. Support your local farmers. Buy locally.