Experiential Learning #2

Brooke Taylor

11/16/16

Blacksburg Farmer’s Market

3:00 PM

For an experiential learning, I visited the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market.   They had a bagel/baked goods booth, a jewelry booth, a booth with homemade tea, eggs, and different kinds of meats, a vegetable booth, and a pastry booth.  While there, I spoke with some of the vendors, tried different foods and drink, and even bought a couple bagels.  At one booth, an older woman and her husband were selling homemade organic tea, eggs, jams, and a few different kinds of meat.  She gave me samples of the three teas she had, green, black, and ginger tea, and explained to me the process of how it was made.  She told me all of it was made on their farm, and they made it with live probiotics for freshness.  I loved the fact they her and her husband did it all together, because they seemed to love it.  I ended up buying some of the green tea, which came in a glass bottle that could be brought back and refilled for only $3.  I enjoyed talking to this woman so much because she was extremely passionate about her work.  I asked her how long she had been making her own food and coming to the farmer’s market, and she told me she had been making her own food, drinks, jams, etc. for years.  I was amazed at how much each booth actually had to offer.  Even though I only briefly spoke with a few of the vendors, each had their own story about their products and why they were there.  I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with each of these people because they made me feel included in the community.  They were not cold or unfriendly, they all wanted to share their knowledge and share what they had with the community.  I think it is special that the market is located right next to campus, because it gives students a chance to be involved in an aspect of the Blacksburg/Christiansburg community.  It made me feel at home to know how friendly and caring some of the locals are.  This experience reminded me of multiple readings from class.  In many of our readings, we learned about how a lot of Appalachian citizens live off the land, grow, and produce their own food.  I knew it was a fact, but I had never seen it in action at a place like the farmer’s market.  While there, I noticed that many of the people there were college students.  I think this is due to the fact that it is located so close to campus.  In this particular setting, it didn’t seem like any one person or booth had a majority of the power.  It was more like they were a small community, because they each had their own personalized hand made product to offer.  I had to “unlearn” my ideals about buying food.  Any time I need groceries, I just go to the grocery store, grab whatever brand or kind they have, pay and leave.  At the farmer’s market, it was much different.  When I got to the vegetable stand, I was surprised to see all the food covered in dirt with roots and stems still attached, just sitting in buckets.  This is something I was not used to seeing, because at the grocery store it is usually cleaned and set out, or packaged into bags.  Also, I wondered if any of the foods were not up to “food regulation” but then I realized, each of the products were hand made with hand grown products, most likely without all the chemicals and pesticides used by chains.  This was a very unique experience for me, nothing like I have ever experienced before.  I am looking forward to being more involved in the Blacksburg community, like at the farmer’s market, now that I know more places around the area.

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