By some calendars, spring is here! In Celtic tradition, this weekend marked Imbolc, the half-way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, and the beginning of spring. Some years, weather wouldn’t cooperate with this astronomical event, so people would watch for badgers coming out of their burrows for guidance. If one came out and didn’t like what they saw, back they went and there’d be six more weeks of winter. Most of the other traditions of Imbolc have passed away, but we still make a to-do about Groundhog Day.
We may be in for several more weeks of cold, but the daylight hours are long enough now that plants are taking note and waking up. Seeds can sense the daily cycles and those from cool weather plants are starting to sprout on their own. Time for me to finish weeding my garden and put my lettuce, pea, radish, and carrot seeds in the ground!
Georgia Organics is in town this coming weekend for their annual conference, and I’m really looking forward to that. When I first started going to their conference in 2002, it was a tiny affair, with all of the attendees fitting in the lodge at Unicoi State Park up in Helen, learning from each other in two small classrooms there. Now, well over a thousand people come from all across the country to learn and celebrate the thriving local food systems that have sprung up across Georgia. The movement in Athens has grown during that time from a handful of farmers and gardeners selling to a small but dedicated group of customers to one that’s a model for cities all across North America. Athens Locally Grown has been part of that growth, starting in 2002 as the world’s first online farmers market and now the flagship of a system that is used by around 400 communities world-wide. We have so much to be proud of here in Athens, and I’m happy we get a chance to show it all off this weekend when the GO conference rolls into town.
Thank you so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!
Other Area Farmers Markets
The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the season. They’ll return in the Spring, and you can catch the news on their website. The Comer Farmers’ Market is open on Saturday mornings from 9am to noon. Check www.facebook.com/comerfm for more information. Washington, GA also has a lovely little Saturday market, running on winter hours from 1-4. You can learn all about them here: www.washingtonfarmersmkt.com. If you know of any other area markets operating, please let me know.
All of these other markets are separate from ALG (including the Athens Farmers Market) but many growers sell at multiple markets. Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!