We All Eat from the Same Table
I come from a large family, lots of brothers, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Holidays with my family were loud and never boring. Like many families, holiday meals usually broke down to the “kids table” and the “grown ups table.” That was tradition, that was family life, and for whatever reason, to this day I still feel a little uncomfortable at the grown ups table. The silverware is nicer (they have silverware), the food is usually warmer, and the conversation is much more serious. I often feel like an outsider at that table.
Hub City Farmers’ Market made an intentional choice years ago to accept food stamps (SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). To increase interest among SNAP users at the market, the United Way of the Piedmont generously granted us money to match SNAP dollars, giving families in need more bang for their buck. We have established ourselves as the state leader in driving more SNAP dollars to local farmers. For us, accepting SNAP makes perfect sense: we support people in need get healthier food, and we help farmers grow their business at the same time. That spells “win-win” in my book.
Another win-win for our community happens this Tuesday. The Spartanburg County Foundation has designated May 5 “Support Spartanburg County Day,” and has been busily coordinating with dozens of local NPOs, Hub City Farmers’ Market included, to make May 5 a day of deep impact for our community. They have created a bonus pool for the day, which will allow donor contributions to potentially gain matching dollars, and thus deliver more than their individual gift.
No doubt, many of you have seen the billboards around town, as well as the pleas for support on social media from those of us participating. Donor dollars are a precious thing, and all of us participating in the Giving Day event can give compelling arguments for why each organization needs and deserves the money. Most of the local NPOs work on shoe-string budgets, serve their missions well, and genuinely want to make Spartanburg better. Indeed, my family will be supporting a number of organizations Tuesday, with the first among them being HCFM.
I mention that we will be supporting a number of organizations Tuesday, because I want you to understand a couple of important things. First, our family is quite middle-class. My wife is a teacher, and I run an underfunded NPO — we put the “non-profit” in “non-profit organization.” We have 4 young children who have a strange urge to wear clothes and eat constantly. They, and their parents, prefer they wear clean diapers, too. They stretch our resources from time to time. Nonetheless, we choose to give what we can each year to local groups we feel make our community better. Second, we love Spartanburg, our kids were born here, and we are committed to this community. We recognize that there are NPOs here beyond HCFM that deserve support. We do not consider ourselves philanthropists, but we do want to teach our children the value of giving back, and the power of investing in our community. Having been on both sides of the donation process, I can promise you there are no “small” gifts.
As for HCFM, yes, I am going to make a pitch, and here it is. We do make the community stronger. We do connect families in need and our entire community to healthy food. Most importantly, we believe in one food system for Spartanburg. We reject the idea that those who have the means eat well, and those who lack eat what remains. We have to push aside the concept of “kids tables” and “grown-up tables.” We want everyone to eat from the same table. That is one of many things that we think make us “more than just a market.”
With that thought in mind, we asked Eric Williams of MMD Creative to put together a short video on the market experience, and I think in it you will see just what HCFM means to people.
We do hope you will support us May 5 for Giving Day. Please follow this link to our page on the SSC site between 8AM and 8PM May 5 to make your contribution. You can also join us at The Farmer’s Table from 8AM-3PM for a great local meal, and a portion of those proceeds also support us. If nothing else, share this video and this opportunity with friends, so they can have a chance to help us make sure we all eat from the same table.
Thank you for your support, and see you at the Market soon,