Thanks to David Newland, of Roots Music Canada, for contributing this post.

With the celebration of springtime fully upon us, many folks are taking this time to count their blessings.

For me, two of the most important ones are food, and music. Both are nourishment: food for the body, music for the soul.

On weekend mornings, I love to head to my local farmer’s market whenever my schedule allows. I take a set amount of money out of the bank, grab my canvas shopping bags and a good strong coffee, and saunter off to browse through the wares.

What I’m looking for, I’ve realized, is not so much the basic sustenance my body needs – I could get that anywhere, and cheaply. The reason I go to the market is that I am seeking nourishment beyond nutrition.

Food that’s locally grown, for example, is important to me. So is being able to have a conversation with the person who produced it. So is knowing as much as I can about what goes into the food, the practices used to grow or raise it, the philosophy of the vendor, and so on.

At my local market, there’s more than food. There are crafts, there are activities for the kids, there’s nature, community, art, and education. Oh – and there’s a girl who plays the fiddle.  Throw her a couple of bucks and she stops to thank you. When she’s not there, it feels like something is missing.

And that makes sense. Music and food, these these two basic blessings, share so much in common. Both are easily found – most people reading this post have more food, and more music, than they need. Yet both are frequently found in a form so watered down, the higher value has been lost. You can buy mass-produced music, just as you can buy mass-produced food, and it will perhaps fill your basic entertainment needs.

But the equivalent of a community market is where they both belong.

Mass production is to music as factory farming is to food. Perhaps a necessity, certainly a reality of ordinary life – but not the only way to experience this bounty.

It’s another thing entirely to enjoy music being played live in a decent environment, to shake hands with the artist, to hear your own concerns expressed, to feel your values  have been respected, to appreciate the work that goes into making it, and to feel you are working with the artist – just as you might work with a farmer – in partnership around this great sustaining nourishment of the soul.

Music and food, mindfully made, are a natural pair.

Add family and friends and you have all the blessings of a perfect spring holiday weekend.

Here’s hoping you enjoy yours in happiness and health, in body and in spirit.

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