Regaining that Small-Town Feel




One of my favorite articles in this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings is “Livable Communities We Love,” page 28, because it takes me on a trip down memory lane. I grew up in Winter Park, a small town in central Florida (although it’s not so small anymore).

Back in the ’70s, I lived on my bike. My friends and I would ride to Park Avenue to go shopping, grab a smoothie and hang out in the park. I had a yellow tandem bike with two huge baskets—my kid brother rode on the back—and Mom would send us into town with a shopping list. I knew all the shop owners personally. We had a charge account at the local hardware store, where you could get everything from household goods to toys. At Little Big Horn, the local produce stand, farmers brought in fresh goods every day. On shopping days, my bicycle baskets would be filled to the brim. And on weekends, the old warehouses next to the train station would open up to the cottage food market. We’d spend all morning there, taking in the amazing smells and catching up with our neighbors while we sipped on fresh-squeezed lemonade and ate homemade pastries.

I treasure those memories, and it’s good to know that more people want to regain that small-town sense of community, which comes from connecting with others and truly caring about shared spaces.

We are fortunate to have small towns all along the Emerald Coast and the 1-10 corridor. In the last few years, farmers’ markets have popped up in every town, organic food options have increased, bike lanes and bike trails are everywhere, and there’s a growing movement to keep our parks, natural waters and beaches pristine. With community in mind, I decided that my goal this summer is to advocate for clean water and solar energy—two ways we can make our little part of the world even more livable. “We Need Clean Water,” page 32, and our solar power Q&A, page 24, explain how citizens and communities can empower themselves through the wise use of natural resources.

Summer is a prime time to be outdoors, and so this issue of Natural Awakenings also includes advice for getting out and active. We offer tips for staying hydrated (page 38); jogging with the kids (page 36); and even traveling with your pets (page 40).

Here in Northwest Florida, life is good—and lucky for us, it’s full of options. The key to keeping life good here is making choices that benefit all our neighbors, not just ourselves. Please join us as we seek to support our communities and make them all a better place to live.

Happy summer!

Daralyn & Scott Chase

 
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