Natalie Wojinski teaches cultural geography and advises the journalism programs at Hercules High School in Hercules, CA. She has been an MWW Public Engagement Coordinator for two years, and coordinates the newsletter for the California Geographic Alliance. Prior to teaching, she worked as a broadcast journalist. This is the first in a series of three posts in which Natalie describes how a trip to France inspired a personal and professional interest in local economic geography.
The olives and strawberries made me do it. The sheer beauty of the vast arrangement of different types and flavors of cured olives in the market, and the baskets of strawberries garnished with delicate yellow blooms, took my breath away. Something clicked and I realized that I needed to have my own market close to home.
It was February 2007 when my husband and I took a group of 12 students to France. Until about a month before the trip, we were planning to travel to northern France. With economies the way they are, our travel company informed us in early January that we would have to change our trip to Paris and the South of France. A trip to a French market was not on the itinerary, but the chaperone from the school we traveled with suggested it. As she had been to France before, I agreed. By the time we reached Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on a cool and overcast morning, we were all ready to explore.