Near the end of the movie “Field of Dreams,” actor James Earl Jones delivers a speech about the sport of baseball, and how it is woven into the fabric of who we are as a nation. It’s a showstopper, delivered in Jones’ deep tone, like thunder bounding through a valley.
“The one constant through all the years … has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game — it’s a part of our past … . It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again.”
If America has its baseball — and please pardon the cinematic and nostalgic reach here — the city of Moscow has its farmers market.
The market, since its humble beginnings, continues to remind us of all that once was good, and could be again.
The market started back in the mid-70s with a handful of University of Idaho students selling pottery and food co-op members selling vegetables from the back of a truck. This year, attendance at the market is expected to top 310,000 visitors, an average of about 12,000 per Saturday during the May-October season.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Over the years, the market has outgrown several locations, endured leadership changes, survived pressure from downtown businesses and overcome occasional vendor infighting and more than its share of debate about dogs.
Yet, the market has rolled on. It’s become a destination event for the region. It’s become an incubator for several local brick and mortar businesses. It’s become an economic juggernaut, bringing an estimated $3.3 million in new money into the community last year.
More than all that — with its fresh produce and handmade earrings and its flautists playing for tips alongside quirky bands with tap dancers — the Moscow Farmers Market remains a weekly celebration of who we’ve been, who we are and perhaps who we’d like to be.
“It has a certain nostalgia and that is important as we move into the fast-paced, technological world. It becomes more important in terms of people experiencing community and connecting with those people who are engaged in creating their own homemade, handmade products.”
Those words were spoken by market manager and director of the Moscow Arts Commission Mary Blyth — exactly 19 summers ago.
Roll on, market. Roll on.
Our View II
What’s best for kids should rule the day
Monday’s story about schoolchildren, lunch and recess caught our eye. As did the perspective shared by Evan Hecker, the principal of Kamiak Elementary School in Pullman.
Hecker said every student at Kamiak is released to recess before lunch, then allowed 20 minutes to eat after free time. The concept must seem foreign to the parents of these children, who likely grew up doing lunch then recess, day after day. Research and on-the-ground experience, however, is finding that children will eat more — and eat healthier — when having lunch after recess. Hecker said the schedule has led to more attentive students once they return to class.
The only negative — at least that Hecker could find — was adults were potentially inconvenienced by the change in schedule. The pushback, Hecker said, was “ … all really more of logistical, procedural things that, in my mind, don’t really center on what’s best for kids.”
We understand the comfort of scheduling, logistics and habit — and we understand change is not always easy — but choosing to center the school day “on what’s best for kids” should always be the priority. Pullman’s newest school appears to have an effective leader who gets that.
— Craig Staszkow, for the editorial board