The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

The city market

I was interested to read The Cavalier Daily's recent editorial ("Fresh ideas," Sept. 9) regarding the City Market. I, myself, have been an avid market-goer for as long as I have been at the University. From April to December it is where I buy the greater part of my food, and it is always a joy to go there on Saturday mornings.

Particularly in contrast with the faceless monstrosities that are Kroger, Harris Teeter and their ilk, the City Market is a refreshing reminder that food comes from the soil and is grown by farmers. It gives one the chance not only to buy things as delicious as possible, but to meet farmers face to face and to get to know them. As such, it is invaluable.\n Furthermore, as the editorial points out, the current location on Water Street is as convenient as can be. I would deplore any move to shunt out the market to make room for "commercial development."

More holistically, I caution against the tendency of the editorial to frame the future of the City Market in terms of development and commercial possibilities. The market cannot retain its essential character if it is to be entangled in webs of gentrifying town-planning, harnessed to "infrastructure expansion" and a district of "complementary businesses and public attractions"; it cannot be reduced to a generator of tax revenues. Nor would it long survive in its current form substantial involvement with the dehumanizing assembly lines of the University dining halls, or with clumsily well-meaning University initiatives to promote sustainable and healthy "lifestyles."

The best thing to do with the City Market is to let it be, in its current location, with a minimum of heavy-handed involvement from the City or the University. Let students and residents popularize it by word of mouth. Let them get there by bicycle or bus. Let them get to know the man with the sombrero selling peaches, or the old lady who brings the best eggs to be had just about anywhere.

There is no way to quantify the value of the carrot with the dirt still on it or the apple with a leaf still attached, in that they are not only food but also small and precious connections to a life on the land that most of us will never know.

David Wilson \nCLAS III