PHOTO ESSAY: Small Business Saturday, Bloomington Indiana

Black Friday sported the usual long lines and people fighting over unneeded, but deeply discounted, consumer goods made in China. Black Friday also sported demonstrations and protests, both for WalMart workers, and for justice in Ferguson.

Interesting, these two strains in contemporary American life, both equally vociferous, divided by a chasm in consciousness . . .

I don’t know how Black Friday played out in Bloomington, where I live, since I went to the woods and didn’t shop yesterday. But I do know how Small Business Saturday is playing out here (interesting that this “shop local” day is being promoted by the global megacorp American Express). And I sense that a similar photo essay could have been captured in thousands of other cities and towns across America. Check out the steady growth of Farmers’ Markets since 1994:

simplegetfileSo if the corporatization of everything is accelerating, so is its opposite: THE SOLUTION TO GLOBAL IS LOCAL, always and everywhere.

In Bloomington, the Farmers’ Market is enormous and runs all year long (during winter it is held in the Harmony School gymnasium), skipping only the Saturday between Christmas and New Year. Most of the year it is held in the parking lot of City Hall, which is itself, a repurposed furniture factory (Showers Brothers, which declared itself “the world’s largest producer of bedroom and dining room furniture”).

city hallHere’s what the inside of city hall looked like this morning, on this Saturday’s Holiday Market. Crowded with people and hand made goods.

inside city hallOutside, the first thing I saw were the two reindeer, one each held by a couple who look to be in their 50s.

reindeer man.1 Of course all the kids wanted to pet them.

I asked the man how he got into reindeers. He drawled, in response, “Well, when I got married, my dear wife said to me that she wanted reindeer. I told her “That’s fine just so I don’t have to take care of them.”

“And so here you are!” I laughed.

“And so here I am,” he grinned back.

I told him it didn’t help that he looked like Santa Claus. He agreed. “Yep!”

raindeer man.2

Before going into the market proper, I looked up. Oops. Shouldn ‘t have done that.

chemtrail 1

One chem trail clearly visible, another peeking out.

Shrugging off my knowledge of poisons that daily rain upon us and that I and others are having a great deal of trouble getting the majority of people to understand that this is indeed happening, that those in power are not here for us. That indeed, we need to become hypervigilant, aware, and TAKE ACTION — in so many ways! But as I say, shrugging it off, I walked through the market. Lots of veggies, of course, as usual, and now mostly cold crop varieties —

veggiesgiant squashesEarth Song FarmNotice the turnips above. Ours in the GANG garden did fine in the unusual cold that enveloped Bloomington (and the entire nation, I hear) during the two weeks I was in Utah. So did the chard and various varieties of kale, beets and carrots. And they weren’t even covered, so quickly did that cold snap come on.

Beeswax candles:


Other arts and crafts of all sorts.

art and crafts

Of course our very own Chili Woman was there!

chili woman

I bought some apples and Asian pears ($7 total) from a sweet man who said he was afraid his photo would break my camera, but posed anyway.

Odon guy

I restocked my frozen green chili cheese tamale supply from Feast:


And, last but certainly not least at the Market, I came across a very interesting booth that makes upbeat T-shirts, and more! Check it out: The Collective Press

Here she is, the owner, doing her thing, as we old hippies still say — and beautifully!

T-shirt ladyBy the time I walked out, the Tuba Santas (?) were on stage, singing, filling the air with Christmas nostalgia. And yep, we just can’t help but respond.

tuba santas

Just prior to that, I had hurried by a booth featuring the Roving Naturalist, sponsored by the city’s Parks and Rec Department!

roving naturalist

And yes, I just had to look up one more time on my way out. Grrrr . . . more chem trails.

more chem trails

Then I got puppy Shadow out of the car and we walked a few blocks downtown to one local store, Goods for Cooks, where one of my housemates, Katarina, works on weekends. She had told me there were good sales on good knives, and she was right!

Katarina Goods for CooksI purchased a “Wusthof Classic” which just fits my small hand, and which, Katarina tells me, is the best knife for chopping vegetables. And yes, great price ($50). Bon appetit!


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3 Responses to PHOTO ESSAY: Small Business Saturday, Bloomington Indiana

  1. rose day says:

    Great article Ann…the poster behind and to the right of the ‘million-dollar’ smile gracing the face of the owner of The Collective Press is the finishing touch on a priceless photo!

  2. laurabruno says:

    Reblogged this on Laura Bruno's Blog and commented:
    Even though I’ve never heard of “Small Business Saturday,” I spent today in much the same way as Ann, though three hours north. Our Farmers Market features about equal numbers of artists and farmers at this time of year — everything from homemade soaps to handgrown and woven willow to knit goods, lotions, jewelry and some delightfully artistic clothes. I walked there and stopped by several local businesses on the way home, including our local bookstore and food co-op. Our garden continues to produce kale, collards, beets, carrots, and more. A lift of the AGRIBON row cover revealed that we still have lettuce, even after nights in the teens! I prefer to shop local whenever I can, but I hope Small Business Saturday turned out well for local entrepreneurs, farmers and artists everywhere. Love and blessings from the Land of Goshen!

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