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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Year of Plenty

Could a Farmers’ Market Be an Act of Spiritual Worship?

The Spokesman is running an article in today's paper on the situation with churches and property taxes that I've recently highlighted on the blog. I scanned the the comments on the article and this one jumped out to me; "Why are churches tax exempt anyway?" That's a great question among many others that I've heard percolating around this issue.

For example, while talking with the photographer from the Spokesman he mentioned something about the church as engaging in "spiritual" activities while the Farmers' Market was a different kind of activity. Is a Farmers' Market in any way a spiritual activity? Are churches as defined by our culture relegated to a "spiritual" ghetto? Are churches as defined by the Bible and Jesus spiritual entities that have nothing to do with material realities like the marketplace and farming?

Another question came up while talking to a reporter from the Inlander. He mentioned at the end of the interview, "On a lighter note, what about Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers? Could holding the market in the parking lot be seen as something comparable to that?" He meant the question in jest, but it's actually a great question for the church and for the community that seeks to understand why a church would have tax exempt status.

My question that I'll open up now and revisit with a Sunday Edition faith related post is, "Could it be that a church's involvement with a Farmers' Market is an act of spiritual worship?" You might be surprised at my answer.

Year of Plenty

The Year of Plenty blog was created by Craig Goodwin in the winter of 2008 to chronicle the experiences of his family as they sought to consume everything local, used, homegrown or homemade. That journey was a wonderful introduction to people and movements in the Spokane area who are seeking the welfare of the community through local foods, farmers markets, community gardens, sustainable transportation, and more fulfilling and just patterns of consumption. In 2009 and beyond the blog will continue to report on these relationships and practices, all through the eyes of a family with young children. Craig manages the Millwood Farmers' Market, is a Master Food Preserver and Pastor at Millwood Presbyterian Church. Craig can be reached at