I did two things this morning: I went to the Iowa City farmer’s market and I watched a bit of the Occupy Iowa City rally.

The Farmer’s Market

As far as farmer’s markets go, Iowa City has a wonderful one.  I could not be happier about the variety and quantity of vendors, the quality of the products, or the friendly people who work the tables.  It is a very pleasant experience.  The only complaint would be the prices.  Some of the baked goods and produce are a bit over priced.  You have to shop around a bit to find a good deal, and even then you may not find the price you’re looking for and just have to give up and go to Hy-vee later.  Today I bought baklava, donut holes, goat cheese, cheese curds, an apple turnover, fudge, and coffee.  I was able to try most everything before I bought it (as well as trying a number of things I didn’t buy).  I love free samples, and the farmer’s market has many available.  There was one thing I wanted to buy, but didn’t because I wasn’t sure what I’d do with it…a pumpkin.  It’s that time of year when everyone at the farmer’s market is peddling pumpkins and gourds of every sort.  I want to buy one, not to carve, but to eat.  When I was a kid I used to love when my parents made roasted pumpkin seeds whenever we carved pumpkins for Halloween.  But what do you do with the rest of the pumpkin?  I don’t want to just buy one for the seeds.  Suggestions?  I also bought Zoey a catnip toy and she has been insane ever since.  I may have her committed.

Occupy Iowa City Rally

I was at the farmer’s market when the Occupy Iowa City folks started their little march from the park to the pedestrian mall.  The lady I was buying goat cheese from seemed a bit annoyed at their presence, but I assured her they were only passing through on their way to the pedestrian mall.  I thought it was odd that a farmer’s market vendor (who I think it is fair to stereotype as liberal) would be annoyed by a liberal protest movement. The Occupy Iowa City march was not what I expected, and, quite frankly, looked a little pathetic.  To say there was 200 of them would be very generous.  It was probably much closer to 100.  I was expecting something much bigger.  There were a lot of signs (correctly spelled and punctuated, unlike the tea party) and chants.

But what impressed me were the speeches.  This group had a clear and well articulated message.  They knew who they were angry at and why.  They had done their homework.  So that made me happy.  I finally knew why they were protesting.  On the other hand, I didn’t hear ANY practical solutions.  They knew who they were angry at and why, but they didn’t seem to know what to do about it other than make a lot of noise.  If you are truly committed to a cause, and not just being a Causehead (PCU movie reference) you would take meaningful steps to fixing the problem.  For instance, in 1955 civil rights leaders in Montgomery, Alabama responded to racial segregation by boycotting the bus system.  This crippled the transit system in the city and caused considerable financial problems.  Laws were passed and racial segregation on the buses ceased.  A problem was identified, a practical solution was enacted, and the intended results were achieved.  I see the Occupy movement as stuck in the “problem was identified” stage.  Wall Street executives and bankers don’t care if you are occupying a park, making speeches, or marching in front of their building.  If you want them to pay attention to you then you have to have an impact on the only thing they care about, money.  Until the Occupy movement can figure that out they will just be a noisy group of people with a legitimate complaint that no one is going to take very seriously.  They need to change their tactics soon because winter is coming.  They won’t last very long in their tents with a foot of snow on the ground and 10 degree temperatures