By Jessi Myers
I have a black thumb. I know lots of people probably think that’s an excuse or a lack of effort but for me it’s a true affliction. An individual with a black thumb struggles to grow plant life of any kind. This is true for me, but beyond that, plant life struggles to thrive even if I’m merely present. It’s emotionally taxing to watch vegetation wilt when you walk in the room. I can feel their distrust. It’s the same feeling I have when watch a movie I know will emotionally devastate me. (Plants: “Oh no, I feel my life force escaping. Why must I die? Oh, Jessi walked in. Well, it was a good run.”
I would love to believe I have some sort of “not yet understood” super power that will someday reveal itself to be positive and useful but at this point I can’t help but feel like a plant murderer. Growing up with a Grandfather who farmed and gardened actively, a florist/botanist Mother, and a Dad who is great at anything that lets him work with his hands, there has always been a reasonable assumption that I knew about plants and flowers. I have learned a lot from them, and yet I remain a destroyer.
This was a hard learned truth. Many innocent plants suffered. There were some hopeful moments. I kept a plant alive for a couple months. My Mom gave me some glass watering bulbs as a gift. We went to my local farmers market and she chose a highly durable plant. She provided specific instructions about light and watering. I was told it was a hearty plant that could survive even me (not her words). I was diligent. I believed. I tried. I mourned.
Growing isn’t my strength. Consuming has proven to be a much stronger skill set. I like to cook and I love to eat. I think it’s important to know what goes into our food and how it is raised. I believe in being an informed and responsible consumer.
I can’t grow food but I can support those that have the skills I lack. The best part is that I can do it locally. I don’t know why I can’t grow veggies or herbs but I know where to find them in my community. I love finding the “ugly” veggies at Farmers Market. Giving them a home and tummies to fill. It just feels right.
I enjoy the challenge of cooking with produce I’m not familiar with. I love hearing success stories. Nothing is better than seeing a producer share how proud they are of a crop that exceeded their expectations in quality or quantity. I love Farmers Markets. I love our Farmers Market.
I recently became the market manager at the Clear Lake Farmers Market and I am so happy to spend each Saturday morning supporting our vendors. They’re accomplishing something I could only dream of. They keep plants alive long enough to sell the delicious bounty, weather permitting. They put their hearts and souls into growing yummy ingredients for your next meal. They bake, can, pickle, sew, make candles, design, build, and repurpose items to make home decor. They tend bee hives, cattle, ducks, chicken, pigs, and social media accounts. They fight to give us something great. Let’s fight for them.
They are working so hard for you and me. People who can’t or won’t, Individuals who don’t have the time or the space. They’re working for all of us who think that someday we might keep a plant alive, because we desperately want to. They’re giving us all hope.
I’ll use the skills I do possess, unfettered enthusiasm, organization, patience, communication, grant writing, nonprofit management, spreadsheet obsession, food love, and community pride to help where I really can make a difference. For me, that’s supporting my market. What does that mean for you?
Find a way to support and benefit from your market. Grow, create, educate (specifically the black thumbs), volunteer, purchase and explore. Do your part to help our market thrive.