It was a bright sunny day in Springfield as we pulled into the parking lot off Wilbraham Road where the Mason’s Square Farmers Market is held each Saturday morning. Tasha, the market manager was there to greet us and had arranged for a great spot near the entrance to the market along the Baystate Mason Square Health Center Building. It was the windiest day that we have been out, and we had to make do with improvised strategies to stabilize our side graphic panels (a design element that definitely needs some re-consideration), but happily our main sign held up quite well. The atmosphere at this market was wonderful –the people, vendors, youth and local DJ all made for a welcoming social atmosphere. And the market was a microcosm of Springfield itself with a diverse mix of people all joined by a commitment to healthy food and the desire to bring it to the center of the city. Many folks asked for the recipe for the Squash Bisque that we were serving (we hope to add a recipe page to this website) and were impressed by our use of coconut milk –several noting that they also use it for their recipes. The youth from the organization “Gardening the Community” (GTC) were directly across from us and their hospitable and active presence gave real life to the market. GTC is a youth-centered, community based urban agriculture program that is committed to teaching the benefits of organic farming and healthy eating. Their vision is to introduce and foster principles of sustainable living through active engagement with the Springfield community, and it was easy to see the enthusiasm that they bring to their mission. You can check out their website at: http://gardeningthecommunity.blogspot.com. I also had some great impromptu conversations with teachers, community organizers, administrators and local farmers which made it clear that the passion and commitment to promote local food system change is present and active in Springfield. I left that day wondering what it would take to develop a mobile healthy food trailer for Springfield in the future.

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