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October 04, 2010

Slow Food, Slow Money

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It's that time of year again. The bounty has arrived; a rainbow of natural colour in the market's stalls.

Walking by the Foxglove Farm stall, I got handed a tiny, shiny orange tomato by Michael Abelman who is gracing this month's Aqua Magazine . I also have a story in it on artist Christina Sorrentino.

"I could tell YOU wanted one of these," he said, after a tourist had declined his offer. And, yes, of course, I did. Who would refuse such a beautiful small orange gift and the perfectly contained explosion of sweetness that results after that first bite that is so fantastic, if I had a stock of those on hand, I'd never need any artificial sugar, ever...again!

Now that I've started to buy locally grown vegetables - sometimes from the farmstand just around the corner - or at the Tuesday or Saturday markets, the difference is truly spectacular in terms of taste. It's as if I haven't really been eating food up until now and on this small island, I'm finally accessing the real goods. Especially, perhaps, in the tomatoes if you're used to those styrofoam blobs painted red that they sell as tomatoes in most big chain food stores.

Later in the morning, a man stopped at my table and asked me if I had any more food photos. When I asked him why, he said he was a chef, creating a new website and he was looking for natural looking photos of food and he liked mine because so many are photoshopped to death. I got his card and told him I'd think about how to go about that in terms of cost and licencing.

A while later, I recognized another man who walked right by my table that I'd taken a freelance writing course from in Vancouver perhaps about 15-20 years ago. When I asked if his name was blah, blah (and I know it seems crazy not to mention it but if I mention it and you know anything about writing in Vancouver you'll know his name and then I won't feel like I can share this story.) He looked at me with a weird expression, not wanting to answer my question, which was just, Are you (name here?) He never did answer it as if he was perhaps expecting that I was some long lost stalker who was about to inform him that I'd had his baby and she was now 12 years old or something. It was strange but anyway, perhaps, as a writer, he was just surprised that ANYONE would recognize him. I never forget a face.

He's still writing. I knew that. And, of course, he's writing a story on Salt Spring and "slow money". Why didn't I think of that I thought to myself amazed at how challenging I'm finding it to come up with ideas and then gathering just enough info to transform it into a query. It's harder than writing the stupid story. I'll never forget one of the things this guy said in the course. He said, When you write a query all you have to do is just ENOUGH work so you can write it and not more. Well, maybe HE can do that. I feel like writing a query requires ALL the work so that you have ALL the info in your head in order to write the damn thing in an enticing enough way. I have just not had enough consistent practice at it over the years I suppose. Are we having fun yet?

Well, in fact, I had thought of the idea he is putting forth but I didn't quite know how to wrap it all into a query with a bow on top and of course he has it all worked out. He hadn't heard about the Salt Spring Community List so I gave him all the details including the name of the guy who started it because it's the technical root of slow money on Salt Spring.

I won't share how he's pulling it all together here - since he's just in the middle of gathering the info - and god knows, millions flock to my blog and the idea might be stolen (joke).

Anyway, these short interactions prove, once again, that the best part about the market, is the short conversations and meetings that take across the tables.

Slow Food. Slow Money. Or maybe those should be the other way around because for most Salt Springers, including me, it just describes the pace at which the meagre amounts they earn trickle into their bank accounts.

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