I decided to go to the Crescent City Farmer's Market on Saturday in Downtown New Orleans. The hardest part of this assignment was deciding which vendor to select for my interview. Admittedly, I was mainly just looking for the friendliest looking vendor. I couldn't help but fear being scoffed at by an angry vendor simply trying to make his/her money for the morning. After spending about ten minutes walking through the rows of vendors selling goat's milk, grass-fed beef, and pasture-raised poultry I happened upon a sweet looking woman selling local, fresh-squeezed juices. There were a plethora of juices on offer; however, I chose to buy the "honey-lemon" which was basically just lemonade sweetened with honey instead of white sugar. It was delicious, but what I was really after was an interview with the woman selling these juices.
I introduced myself and asked for one minute of her time; her reply was something along the lines of "your one minute starts now," which totally threw me off. So I tore my phone out of my pocket and began recording on the spot. Her name was Jillian and she was a local musician in New Orleans who played banjo. She was a strong supporter of the local food movement and wanted to help anyway possible.
The following are her responses to my questions:
"My name is Jillian, I work in New Orleans as a musician."
"I play banjo for a few different groups in the area."
"I believe in local food because I believe it helps sustain a city form the inside, instead of relying on other parts of the culture for food and goods that you find here [in the market]."
" The farmers market, and the people here to support it, is more than just a place to buy and sell products. Its not just about the money, but the culture, too."
"Without a place to exchange food you put love and care into, there would be a major void in the city."
I was extremely lucky to get the quotes I got because they were exactly the words I was after. From Jillian I was able to reinforce something in my mind that I already knew. Food is a major part of culture and it is through food that we are able to make connections, break cultural boundaries, and share ideas. The farmer's market serves this purpose within cities.