I hate saying goodbye. I’m a hardcore “see you later” person.
Even typing the title to this post made my heart a little bit heavy.
I’m not a KC native, so I have an outsider’s appreciation for Kansas City’s unique Farmers’ Market culture. I visited Brookside Farmers’ Market for the first time in 2010. In 2011, I moved to Kansas City, inspired by my peek into the “live local” culture that makes KC wonderful. In my first cold winter months in KC, Badseed Farmers’ Market was a warm sanctuary, and that winter, while hiding from the blustery weather, surrounded by winter’s bounty, I met some of the people who are, to this day, some of my favorite KC makers and growers.
Winter markets, if you don’t know, are a treasure. It takes a hardcore team to commit to keeping a growers’ market open through February, as usually-dedicated customers are deterred by cold weather and holiday activities. The vendors who extend their seasons into the darkest days of winter are deeply dedicated to their mission of bringing sustainably grown food to their community. Folks like these are truly heroes in our community. Sadly, we’ve let them down.
Like many of us, I have taken the treasure that is Badseed for granted.
Old habits die hard, and my habit is to return to the grocery store when my favorite market closes for the season. Even though Badseed is open for months after all of the other grower’s markets have closed, I only visited the Badseed winter market for special events. Even though many of the same vendors I visit each Saturday in the summer also vend at Badseed, I didn’t switch to Badseed instead of the grocer at the end of the “regular” market season.
I had plenty of excuses, of course – it wasn’t at the right time, it was on the wrong day, it was out of the way – you probably had some of the same excuses. Like many of you, I simply took comfort in knowing that they were open, a community gathering place, a warm sanctuary on a cold Friday night.
Sadly, that comfort will soon be gone. At the end of February, Badseed Farmers’ Market will close their doors and, rather than returning a few short months later with springtime greens and flowers, their doors will remain closed. I was more than a little surprised when I heard this news, but I’ve been part of the problem. I’ve justified shopping at the grocer instead of buying directly from growers I know. I’ve let some of my favorite growers and makers down, and I’ve let my fellow Friends of the Market down. I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Please, set the excuses aside, and make time to go say goodbye to Badseed. Say thank you to the vendors and organizers and managers who have made Badseed possible for so many years. Share your memories, and make a new friend. We are all busy, but this is our last chance, our time to make up for all the times we were lazy by blowing our entire budget at one market. Buy 10 of everything. Don’t forget to make sure you know where you can find your favorite vendors come spring.
Maybe this is a good time to add a New Year’s resolution to your list: go to your neighborhood Farmers’ Market every single week this season. All of our KC Farmers’ Markets need you! Don’t let them down!