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Front Porch Farm Stand yields food, flowers and fellowship for neighbors

MADISON – A Madison newcomer, Lindsey Boothe conceptualized the Front Porch Farm Stand as a gathering place for people and provisions.

“I thought the stand would be a great way to meet my neighbors and be a win-win for all of us,” Boothe said.

“I started with ‘rules’ of the ‘Little Free Library’ stands but wanted it more personal. I realized not everyone gardens, but everyone has something to offer,” Boothe said. “As long as it’s something you’d find at a typical farm stand, you’re welcome to bring it by.”

“The concept of the front porch started in the South to escape the summer heat. It became an architectural movement all over the country due to strong communities that stemmed from front porch visits,” Boothe said.

However, Americans have lost that way of life “with our increasingly busy schedules and obsession with technology. I’m hoping to simply bring that back,” Boothe said. A farm stand also can reduce wasted food by sharing with others.

Boothe recommends sharing jellies and jams, eggs, teas, herbs, cookies, pastries and plants. Her farm stand has a recipe box for card swaps, along with Mason jars with water for cut flowers. Neighbors can leave helpful supplies for gardeners, like empty jars or egg cartons.

“I’ll put something special out every ‘Farm Stand Friday,’” she said. People have no limits on how much to take, but stands operate best when people take only as much as they give.

A stand works on the honor system. “There will always be miscreants, but the good always prevails,” Boothe said. “(Usually), we’re talking ‘small tomatoes’ here. If someone takes all of those, I assume they have food insecurity. With produce, we’re hoping for a quick turnaround anyways to prevent waste.”

Feedback about the Front Porch Farm Stand has been totally positive. “I’ve had lovely cottage floral arrangements, fresh tomatoes, artisan teas and many other things. I’ve received lots of messages of support. I’m hoping those turn into additional stands,” Boothe said.

Her husband Brandon works as engineer. Lindsey owns Alabama Treenware and cares for their two youngsters. “My husband is the most supportive person of all of my ‘antics,’” Lindsey said. “Our little guys love to help me carry things out and see what people leave.”

Her stand is open 24/7, but she does prefer daytime visits.

Anyone interested in building a farm stand can attend a workshop at Burritt Folk School on Sept. 18 with Boothe and local pyrography artist Lauren Concepcion. Students will assemble their own stand and create a wood-burned sign. For more information, visit burrittonthemountain.com/burritt-folk-school.

For more information, email alabamatreenware@gmail.com or visit alabamatreenware.com/front-porch-farm-stand, Facebook/Alabama Treenware or Instagram: @alabamatreenware.

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