[Market-farming] foreign invasion

michaele blakely mjb at premier1.net
Mon May 26 11:23:20 EDT 2003

As I said before, this was and still is somewhat is an issue here in the 
northwest, but since it has been ongoing for almost a decade now, 
tensions and misunderstandings have dissapated as each year passes and 
the English of the Hmong farmers gets better and they understand our 
system.  Many flower farmers were forced out, or forced to change as I 
was, but like it or not that is the way our system works.

I was critisized by some for being prejudiced when I would not allow for 
a bending of the rules, and as with every nationality, there are some 
good and some bad.   I had to ask some vendors to leave. Some people 
still think I am prejudiced, but not the Hmong farmers. I have very good 
relations with the Hmong community. It took a concentrated effort to 
establish communication with them about the do's and don'ts of selling 
at growers' only markets.  Most of these people have been here for quite 
a while now, and there is someone in the family who speaks and 
understands English fluently that can help spread the word.  I am no 
longer a market manager, just a farmer, but I am recognized as a fair 
person and many times Hmong growers have come to me for help in solving 
an issue. As long as decisions are made fairly people will abide them. 
Managers need to find the leader of the group, once that person is 
educated the job is done.  What I see happening in our markets now 
because of the communication issue is that the Hmong farmers do not 
always have the opportunity to speak up for themselves as many of the 
more fluent farmers do.  This can lead to them being taken advantage of, 
both by consumers and other farmers.

Our economy has been hard hit and I know here many of the Asian families 
have lost thier jobs.  Their only recourse is farming now, so I would 
imagine you will see more showing up.

 Since so many have lost their jobs the problem we have here is that our 
markets are pretty much full and these farmers have no place to sell 
their product.  There is work being done to alleviate that, but I'm not 
sure how much it will help in the short term.

Growing Things

>Don't even go there.   I suspected my post might be read as such, but I took
>a chance on posting anyway because the issue greatly affected the farmers
>selling at those markets to the point it has driven out all other cut flower

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