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Don’t Overlook Your Local Farmers Market

     Before I came to Baylor, I lived in a small town filled with festivals and weekly farmers markets. As a kid, I dreaded those Saturday trips, but when I moved to Waco I noticed how much more appreciative I am of close-knit communities. Residents of Waco are incredibly lucky to be able to shop locally at the downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

     In the one year I’ve lived in Waco, I have struggled to get acquainted with the town outside of the “Baylor Bubble.” Adjusting to my life as a full-time student and living in a new area was difficult, but I constantly heard “You go to Baylor, but you live in Waco.” It always encouraged me to want to get to know more about the place I was calling home for the next few years. By casually going to movies at the downtown Hippodrome, having lunch, or even taking long drives admiring the atmosphere of downtown, I was feeling more like a local. But I knew I still wanted to get to know the people of Waco.

     I decided to go to the Waco Farmers Market, just to see what was going on. I went a few times last fall and immediately wanted to continue going, but the coronavirus entered the U.S. and I had to leave Waco. Once I came back, I couldn’t wait to go back and see what the Waco locals were making.

     When I finally went to the farmers market, I was surprised at how much food, culture and homemade goods there were. People from different backgrounds showed up to share their creations and represent the people and art in Waco. The fact that there were strict safety regulations due to COVID-19 didn’t seem to bother the locals or community as many still showed up. While I went at a later hour, around 11am, there were still plenty of shops and people walking around being socially distanced and wearing masks. It almost seemed to be a party where everyone was invited to just look at what the neighbors created that week. It was a very fun and eye-opening experience that I missed during quarantine.

     Being back at Baylor, I forgot that I was also a citizen of Waco, and the amount of people at the market gave me that sense of a close-knit community. With that sense, it reminded me of home and how being connected to the local community is so uplifting adn encouraging. That feeling also made me want to take a more active role in attending events like this. Getting connected to a community is hard, especially in a pandemic, but paying mind to local events is an easy way to slowly bridge the worlds of campus and downtown. 

     In short, going to the farmers market, after not going for six months, reminded me of the community in Waco that I love so much. It reminded me that while I am a student at Baylor, Waco is my new home. Being appreciative of the efforts of the local community is what makes local shops able to continue what they’re doing. So, in any chance you get, shop local and take notice of what’s happening in your college town, not just on campus. 

Mallory is a sophomore at Baylor and already loves the bears! She is studying journalism and trying to figure out a minor to achieve her dream job of being a lifestyle magazine editor. When she's not planning an event or writing a last-minute article, you can find her spending money on clothes, coffee, and food. She even enjoys watching any movie that doesn't include a clown. Mallory is proud to be a part of the Baylor Chapter.
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