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Southern Eyes

I know the tone of some of my columns has been different lately. I have complained of some changes within the city that I think should -- or should not -- take place. Some people have told me they like the different tone. Others (the subject of my columns) said they do not. I can sympathize with that because I'm sure I'd feel the same way.

My complaints have not been just an opportunity to "sound off." They were intended to create an awareness that something is broken and should be fixed.

This week, I talked to someone over the telephone that I've never met -- Katie Lewis. Katie had a complaint about her new home town, which happens to be my home town, and yours, too. But Katie didn't see it as an opportunity to sound off. Instead, she saw it as an opportunity -- period.

Katie moved to Thomson with her husband and five children. She was accustomed to shopping weekly at her choice of "a ton" of farmers markets for the family's fresh produce. When she asked around Thomson to find the farmers market, she was told to drive to Augusta. Driving 30 miles for a basket of fresh beans did not make sense to Katie. So, she started a farmers market right here in downtown Thomson.

Let me repeat myself -- I've never met Katie. But I'm convinced she must be brilliant. When she sees a farmer in the parking lot of an abandoned business, selling something out of the bed of his pickup truck, she is encouraging him to set up shop at the farmers market. Hopefully within a couple of months, Katie's five children won't have to sit in the car seat so long to get the peas they are going to roll onto the floor, smear in their hair or plaster to their booster seats. They'll just make a quick stop in downtown Thomson and find all the 5-a-day they need.

Truth be told, Katie technically isn't encouraging the farmers to "set up shop." This is where her brilliance comes in -- she's encouraging them to "rent a booth." Not only does Katie get to stay in Thomson to shop, but she'll be making money in the process. I'm impressed.

If the farmers market is a success, we all win. Katie and her kids, the farmers, all of us who get to conveniently purchase fresh produce. Eating it will improve our health. We'll lose weight. We'll get rid of our too-big clothes and take them to consignment shops or charities. We'll buy new clothes and stores will benefit. We'll spend less time in the doctors offices and they can squeeze more patients into their schedules. We'll all be parking and walking downtown, bringing it to life.

Uh-oh. I feel a complaint coming, so I'll just end it right here. Period.

Web posted on Thursday, April 08, 2010

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