“My experience at the market is rushed,” says Thea, a frequenter of the Berkeley Farmers’ Market downtown on Center Street. “I come here every Saturday I can make, before work.” Thea does her grocery shopping here and she is very much apart of a growing movement for fresher, healthy food. She said, “It’s not so wierd to have farmers’ markets,” anymore. This is affecting the communtiy she said and, “the more people do this [going to farmers' markets and eating healthy food], the better the world will be.” To her, this is a place where one can build, “a better relationship with food.”
Rolf Crudupt agreed. Crudupt works at Farm Fresh Choice, a nonprofit food justice organization that sells freshly grown produce to lower-income families, and he says that the food and community at the market are great.
“It’s coming from the heart,” Crudupt said, adding, “the Ecology Center (which runs the markets here) is the root and we are the sprout, the behind-the-scenes.” He says there is a sense of, “togetherness” that one can’t get from being at a major grocery store.
Crudupt said that since changing up his eating habits he now has more energy and the he feels, “pure.” Even though it’s not as easy, the switch feels good and he says that it’s a, “cleanse that [he] can’t explain.”
Once a year, the Berkeley Juggling Club holds a festival and once a year they advertise their upcoming show at Berkeley High School. With Bri Crabtree at the reins, Joe Disalvo and Arun Persaud get to have quite a party. The acual group has been around since the 1990s, but Disalvo, like many, has been juggling since his teens. Even though they all have jobs, he said juggling gives them the color and the fun they need. It has brought Disalvo to, “places [he's] never been.”
Juggling has brought him and his friends together and they hope to bring more people to their community. He said juggling is for all ages and skills, which is why they thought the outskirts of the market was a perfect place to set up a little demonstration.
Some people not only use the market as a community, a way of being, or a stage, but also as a way to people-watch, shop, and celebrate. Victor Miller, writer of the original screen play of “Friday the 13th”, and his wife kicked off the celebration of their 50th anniversary with a visit to the market. They have been going to the market six times every summer for about eight to ten years. It is entertaining and a great way to meet, “odd people.” It’s a community of it’s own and a fun way to spend a simple morning while still completing some of those household errands. Miller loves the olive oil here, and Flacos (Vegetarian Mexican food). The market reminds Miller of Italy where they only eat what is grown organically. He says that this is really, “the best way to eat.”
All in all, the Berkely Farmers’ Market is somthing special to everyone who goes. It is a community. It is a family. It is a pure and healthy, fun way to gather groceries. The people here are unique and they want to give back to the Earth and their community. They want to have fun and they want to meet other people. I could have interviewed everyone here because every person is so unique. I think, that truly this place is a way of life and a way forward. In the words of someone new I met here, the market is truly a way of “being.”