People Standing Up!
Kathy Novogratz, of Northampton, knew a few things: She knew she loved her town. She knew she wanted to see it grow and become a vibrant center for commerce and community. And she also knew she’d need help if she wanted to see her dreams realized.
“A few years ago, we were sitting on my back porch in the summer by the fire and waxing about the town and how much we loved it,” she said. “We sat there by the fire pit, year after year, and nothing happened. So we decided we have to do something about it.”
Novogratz called her friends, and they decided to take their mission online. They started a Facebook page dubbed People Standing Up! and had their first meeting.
Now, they meet 7 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. The meetings are hosted by Change on Main, 1830 Main St. Change on Main is a nonprofit designed to help those battling addiction live happy and productive lives by hosting a variety of activities, such as yoga classes and volunteer cleanup activities.
Designed as a nonpartisan group, People Standing Up! describes itself as a group of Northampton Borough citizens “who work together for positive change in our community through advocacy and action. We encourage public attendance and participation at borough council or planning commission meetings,” according to the Facebook page.
The initial fruit of their efforts was the Northampton Farmers Market, which is held 3-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday through Oct. 1 under the pavilion at Municipal Park, Smith Lane and Laubach Avenue.
Vendors include third- and fourth-generation farmers Twin Maple Farms, Bath; Covered Bridge Farm, Northampton; and Chartiers Farm, Bath. Other vendors include Estelle’s Catering, Popcorn Pit, Veggies and Such, Clear Springs Farm, Nanna’s Kitchen, Gallow Hill Spirits Company, Lehigh Valley Kombucha, Eve’s Angels and Blend Life.
Each week, attendance has grown, according to Pat Knopf, the lead organizer of the market.
“We’re really getting a lot of people there,” she said.
In addition to vendors, visitors to the market can also find free yoga and chair massages, rock painting and live entertainment by musicians and even clowns.
The farmers market is just the beginning, Novogratz said. The group is now comprised of Knopf, Brian Sabo, Bonnie Almond, Thomas Kovalchik, Judy Kutzler and Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. The group has several plans in the works. Next year, the group will organize a community garden that will supply Northampton Area Food Bank.
“The garden will be an incredible undertaking,” Sabo said.
Ideally, the group would like to see Northampton go back to its roots as a small vibrant town with plenty to offer visitors.
“We want for visitors to be able to go to a park, sit and grab lunch in a safe place and offer a safe environment for people to come and enjoy themselves,” Lopsonzski explained.
For more information on how to join, visit the group’s Facebook page, People Standing Up!