President’s Message: Pump Up the Bacon Jam

I love farmers markets. Amid all the tents and colorful signs, there’s something charming about discovering unique foods not available in a brick and mortar store and having a direct connection to fresh, locally grown produce. But to me, the most exciting aspect of farmers markets is having conversations with the farmers and vendors who have grown or produced the products.

It’s a true marketplace experience. As the economist Adam Smith said, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

You might not need the product being offered under that tent– but the enthusiastic owner you’re chatting with asked you to give it a try. Who knew I needed three jars of bacon jam? But why have just the original bacon jam when you can also have black pepper bacon jam and the chili bacon jam! It’s delicious by the way.

These hard working people have built their businesses and take pride in every stage of growth in the production of their tomatoes, corn or fresh made bread or tortillas. They are the ultimate entrepreneurs. They are risk-takers. They are innovators and adaptable, as weather conditions, competition, and other factors can change from week to week or year-to-year. And there are 28 million U.S. small business owners just like the lady selling bacon jam, who together employ nearly half of the private workforce in the U.S.

Entrepreneurship is such a powerful gateway to economic mobility, and we are grateful to JA volunteers who plant seeds of inspiration in our youth—our next generation of entrepreneurs!