Thursday, September 6, 2012

The dying soul of my hometown

I am on the train heading South. ´Behind me I have a couple of days of beautiful autumn in my childhood town. As always, my senses are open for anything regarding food, health, and ecological living.

We made it through the week with just a little bit of food from the grocery store. Most stuff was based on leftovers from our now empty freezer. Read: Organic spinach and grassfed meat on the bone. These two ingredients combined with some local roots (carrots, potatoes, celery) and eggs made up our dinner and lunch for almost four days (spinach pancakes, spinach soup, beef risotto boiled in bone broth and fortyfied with tumeric power and meat soup). Most food was well received, maybe because our active days out in the parks of this hometown of mine.

We also went to the market place to buy the vegetables and some fresh local apples. The market place is in the VERY city center. It is the soul of this town. If you haven't seen this place after visiting this town, either you are blind or you missed the most essential part of the city. Really, Vaasa, without the square is not Vaasa, nor Vasa (Swedish spelling for the same city) for that matter. Once this quite big square was filled with farmers selling their produce. Particularly at this time of the year you would have seen the square filled with life and fresh vegetables, apples, lingon berries etc. Today, there is one - yes, let me repeat: ONE - local farmer selling her local produce on the market square. And then there are the guys over at the berry stand (strawberries in September - hellou, don't think so!), who are not local, based on their appearance. Note: nothing against immigrants, but this just shows how sad the situation on the market place is... Local farmers have all given in, people go out to buy their food at the big hypermarkets outside town. The only lady left said she'll give it another four years, then she quits. She is done with complaining customers and a 15 hours day shift.

I get really upset when I hear this. I want to shout and scream at the top of the statue of liberty (yes the square has one of those too, just that it refers to the liberty after the civil war...not anything to do with the NYC ditto). People of my dearest hometown - don't let the square die! Invest a few euros extra in showing your support for locally produced foods! Give incentives to those few vegetable farms around the city to go back to the square and sell their stuff directly to you! Encourage the farmers to start selling local eggs, directly to you! Do whatever you can to maintain the soul of Vasa alive!!!

While farmer's markets are living a booming life in the country where hypermarkets were invented, we here in Finland are giving the farmer's markets its last blow by choosing the hypermarket aisles. Do you really have so little time in life that you can't make it to the square? Do you really feel glad when stressing down the aisle of the green hypermarket, queuing with your cars outside, queuing at the cashier inside. Do you really feel good buying those apples from the other side of the world, without a clue of how and with what chemicals they were produced?

I hope the square life will have its revival! I hope you who can do something about it think so too!!!

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