Sunday, September 07, 2008

Need-a-Bag? Project update 09.6.08

Note: The Need-a-Bag? project was created to promote sustainable bagging at the Hwy 441 Alachua County Farmer's Market each Saturday morning. We supply reusable tote bags reclaimed from thrift stores and garage sales. The Need-a-Bag? project also utilizes old tank tops as tote bags by sewing up the bottoms (these are called t-totes). We invite you to read the other posts on the project by clicking the "Need-a-Bag? Project" label at the bottom of this post.

We were very late getting to the market and when we arrived it had already opened. We brought the shopping bags I had purchased from Publix and Target and the two Etsy bags designed by Eng by Nik. She has started sending us her bag seconds and we waited until I could photograph them to put them on the fence. One got snatched up pretty quickly -- they're lovely, big bags just perfect for reusing because they are sturdy. I hope it found a good home and whoever got it enjoys the hand-written card by Nik explaining its imperfections and the pen with her business info on it. It's stuff like that that causes me to want to buy more single-producer items, because craftspeople like Nik care about their products and how they are received.

As you can see from the above photo, the lady who usually sells plants and shrubs was not present today, as many of the regulars were missing because of low turn-out. The one thing I have found, though, from this lack of customers, is that the people who do remain are less busy and more accessible to talk to. The fellow DG bought her chantrell mushrooms from, for instance, was able to stand around for a couple of minutes and tell us about how hard it is for him to find them and how happy he gets when he does, saying, "you can hear me yelling and jumping up and down in the woods when I come across them."

We also ran into Jean who was waiting to help some people get set up and she agreed to be our keynote speaker at the Need-a-Bag? Project first anniversay banquet. She is a wonderful conversationalist so I know it will be an excellent 5-10 minute discussion on the topic of her choice! As we talked with her two of the regular farmers came up and told Jean that they didn't have anything to sell because the recent deluge from Fay had submerged their crops. When Jean expressed sympathy that they would have to start over, the woman said, "well, that's what you do when you're a farmer, you're always starting over."

Including the Eng by Nik bags, we put out 7 bags. We didn't even bother putting out the signs, or the drop box. I've sent out an email to the Need-a-Bag? Project Associates, hoping to rally them into helping to construct Totey the Tote Bag before Halloween. I've been crazy busy as has everyone who has stated their wish to see this part of the project come to fruition -- I hope we can pull it off!
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