Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sustainable Saturday - Two Poets, A Dog, a Neighbor and Survival

The saga of the permanent Otsiningo Farmers Market in Binghamton, New York continues, and the news is not good.

Certainly, everyone in the cozy winter space in downtown Binghamton where the market meets twice a month is sick of winter.  Here, a vendor dreams of spring, and the time the market can be outdoors again in its summer Otsiningo Park location.
Vegetables are almost gone by now.  One vendor had a  little basket containing the last of his apples.  Someone else had some garlic - again, the end of their crop. Eggs were abundant, though, as was meat.  We bought one of these stewing hens, and came so close to buying the duck eggs.  We owned ducks many years ago (yes, there are egg laying duck breeds), and the eggs are so good in baked goods. I could just see myself making a good brownie (yes, there is such a thing as Weight Watchers brownies) with some of these, but spouse overruled me.

We were browsing the garlic and the cheese at this stand, tended by two women.  One looked at me and smiled.  I see you every morning, she exclaimed, I live at _______ (a block from me)  and my Ruby (her dog) greets you ever morning."  Oh, I sure did know her, or rather I knew her friendly black dog, who barks hello at me some mornings when I walk by.

When did I ever think I would find an urban neighbor selling at a farmers market? 

But, sadly, this market may soon be looking for a new permanent home.
WNC Market, Asheville, NC September 2012
For years, Binghamton has been trying to build a year round indoor farmers market, like the ones you will find in North Carolina. In fact, one of the local markets that were studied while our market was planned was the year round WNC market in Asheville, North Carolina.
After years of planning, ground was broken this summer in Otsiningo Park, near our community garden plot. But then, construction stopped in October - and never resumed. 

What happened?  We didn't find out right away, but when we did, there was no surprise.

Archeological artifacts were found, and, under New York State law, construction had to stop.  It's not the first time this has happened with construction in this area, and it was one reason why I had always felt the Otsiningo Park location was not the best.  (Full disclosure - the fact that our community garden was endangered by this construction was another reason I opposed it.)

The long arm of local history has stopped the construction - but the vendors were so ready for a permanent year round indoor market and I would have been hapy to have something even half the size of the awesome Asheville market.

Will the Otsiningo market ever resume construction?  If it doesn't I don't want it to remain homeless.  In fact, I  have a dream of it being located somewhere else - that "somewhere" being my neighborhood of Westover, near Johnson City, New York.

Why?  Because my neighborhood's survival may depend on it.  Yes, Ruby, that also means you.

Sounds dramatic but I'm serious about that. More on that later in March.


  1. Yes, I'm sure ready for this winter to be finished.
    Hope you do get that indoor Farmer's market. That would be a blessing and I'm sure a boost for your community.

  2. Thanks for always sharing pics with your posts!
    Sending good thoughts your way for a profitable farmers market!

  3. An indoor farmers market would be great, we have an out door one. Thanks for sharing.

  4. In England, construction work uncovers something worth preserving every time from the past. But the archaeologists are given an allotted time to finish and then the original work continues. A case in point is the recent dig for a new underground line in London.

  5. I cannot wait for it to be over! I do love the idea of an indoors farmers market! :)


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