Archived Story

Strong communities a challenge in digital age

Published 10:49am Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What is community and how do we make ours stronger? The definition of community is “all the people living in a particular area or place.” I like to think of the word much differently. I like to think of its meaning as something more like “all the people living in the same place helping each other and being actively engaged in improving their particular area or place.”

According to Theodor Rozak, author and historian, “our culture builds bigger and bigger corporations, and trading alliances. The thrust toward the global in government, communications, and business goes against the human need for smaller, face-to-face communities. There is a disintegrative quality to reaching out beyond neighborhood and nationality lines. When computer networks are organized and we have 500 TV channels, common culture will disintegrate; we will have smaller enclaves for smaller groups. I can’t predict what kind of community it will be, but the new community will be in reaction to the crushing bigness of systems.”

We have a tendency to become disconnected with each other and with the immediate world outside our door. With TV and computers to constantly stimulate us, sometimes we don’t leave our house to see what’s going on in our own towns. I talk to people frequently about events in Austin, and a lot of times they respond that they didn’t even know they were happening. What can we do to build more connectedness, more togetherness in our community? We at the Austin Area Farmers market are striving to bring to Austin a gathering place where people come to not only buy good food, but to get to know their fellow community members. A place where people of all kinds gather and have a good time. Part of our mission statement states the following: “we seek to enhance to quality of life in Austin, MN by providing a community activity which fosters social gathering and interaction.”

We have been happy to host in our community booth the Relay for Life gals, and this past week The Salvation Army. It is our pleasure to support these groups and more. We also support local musicians who seek to come down and share their talents with Austin and have been delighted to have some very talented ones come and enhance our market recently.

On Thursday, July 26, we will be hosting an Arts Festival. Local artisans of all types and kinds will be setting up at our market place that day, we will be having children’s activities, a petting zoo, ice cream, face painting and henna, live music, entertainers from the Renaissance Festival and Apollo liquor will be there sampling Minnesota wines. Make sure you get out for this wonderful event. Our hours will run from 3:30 to 8 p.m. that day. Spread the word.

The Austin Area Farmers’ Market is open Thursdays, 3:30 to 6 downtown, Main Street, Mondays, 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Oak Park Mall and Saturdays, 9:30 to 11:30 am., Oak Park Mall. We accept all major credit cards and EBT. EBT users, don’t forget the BCBS double your bucks program, for the first $5 you spend, you will receive $5 in matching bucks.


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