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Stone Soup Plans Underway

Farmer’s Markets are often an important event in a city or town. Madison, St. Paul and even Barron have successful markets that are well attended. At the Transition Initiative open space meetings held this winter, there was interest in having a Farmer’s Market. A group of us discussed all the features that make a good market: seeing your friends, getting vegetables and local products, maybe a good cup of coffee and something to eat. When we were done, we asked the two farmers who were there, who already sell to Farmers Markets, if they would come and sell. “No,” was the answer. We are too small an area. The discussion that followed is what eventually became the proposed Stone Soup Project.


Do you know the story of Stone Soup? A shortened version goes something like this:

Once upon a time, several soldiers came to a town and knocked on doors and asked for something to eat. Fearful, the townspeople said no. One of the soldiers had an idea. “Can I borrow a big pot?” he asked at one farm. With the pot, he went to the town center and built a fire and filled the pot with water. While several of the townspeople watched, he added a clean stone to the pot.  A curious boy who was watching, asked what the soldier was doing. “I am making my grandmother’s famous stone soup,” he said. “Its edible like this, but its much better with a little salt and pepper.” The little boy ran home and came back with salt and pepper. More people gathered around. “Yum,” said the soldier, “It’s really fine just like this but my grandmother added some onions and then it was really good.” A woman came forward. “Well,” she said, “I guess I could spare a few onions.” Quickly the other people came forward with ingredients for the soup and together everyone enjoyed a meal, made new friends and realized they had a bountiful community.


We can share the bounty as well. The HRTI is proposing that every other week, starting in early July, Prairie Farm and Ridgeland will hold a modified Farmer’s Market on a rotating basis, featuring a community meal. Vegetables can be offered for free, sold or thrown into the “stone soup pot.” 


At these events anyone with extra vegetables can bring them to be given away. A container will be provided for free-will offerings for the produce, which will be given to the food shelf. Anyone with fewer resources will be welcome to take what their family needs for the week. Farmers and producers with produce like raspberries, apples, shallots, canning tomatoes or value added products can sell their items as well. Vendors can contact the organizers for more information.


To make the Stone Soup, each week one group or several groups will be paired with a vegetable producer. Ahead of time they will decide what is available locally with which to prepare the meal. It could be chili and corn bread, a salad, or a pot of soup. This meal will be free of charge for the community. Each town can decide what to add to the event, a kick ball game, relay races, or music. Our imagination is the only limit. Molly Olson is the coordinator for Prairie Farm and Erin Link is coordinator for Ridgeland.  Anyone wishing to have the “soup” needs only to bring their own bowl and utensils. If you want a beverage with the meal or any additional food, bring that as well. Some of the meals may include local bread.


For more information, contact Molly Olson at molmarolson@chibardun.net, 455-1514 or Erin Link at cornshloger@hellokitty.com, 455-1087.

Stone Soup artwork by Liz Allen of Prairie Farm- elizabethallenart.com


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