[Market-farming] (no subject)[board and farmers' market]

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Sat Apr 23 09:56:15 EDT 2011

Hi Darnell,

Is this a board on which the chair rotates with some frequency? It may  
not mean as much as you think that this particular person is now the  
chair -- he may just be the one who got stuck with it this year. (I  
serve on a town planning board that works like that.)

If this is only one person on the board with a bug in his ear on the  
subject, I wouldn't worry about it too much. The rest of the board may  
be entirely used to listening to him rant for a while, and writing it  
off as just one of his pet peeves.

If some of the soap ingredients do come from a local farm, can you  
offer board members a tour of the farm? How about offering tours of  
the rest of the operations?

You might want to consider how large the market is likely to grow. The  
impact of a 40-vendor market is going to be bigger than that of a 6  
member market. If the community in the immediate area is happy with  
you, this isn't likely to be a problem; but that might, or might not,  
mean that a market with 100 or 400 vendors would also be OK. If you're  
still growing, make sure you're considering space, noise, and traffic  

Also, make sure vendors are actually meeting the local production  
standards -- the market manager and/or board should be authorized to  
inspect vendors' operations.

(How on earth do you consistently keep an exact 50% / 25% / 25%  
breakdown, anyway? Requiring at least 50% farm vendors, or even at  
least 50% produce vendors, makes sense; but you're not always going to  
have a number of vendors evenly divisible by 4, and you must have a  
large waiting list to draw from if you can always have that sort of  
exact percentage of types of vendors, even aside from that.)

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

On Apr 23, 2011, at 7:43 AM, darnell erickson wrote:

> I am looking for suggestions for a course of action from the members  
> of this group....(and maybe a little sympathy too).....or a mild  
> whack in the side of the head if I need it....(perhaps I am missing  
> the bigger picture)
> Every year our market must get approval to operate from the local  
> Board of Health.  Our market has grown from 6 full time vendors to  
> nearly 40 in the past 10 years, and the Board of Health has chosen  
> to require us to list every vendor and what they sell on our permit  
> request.  In the past the Board has expressed concern that  
> permitting sales of certain items (such as smoked fish, chocolates)  
> created unfair competition for local businesses because we are being  
> allowed a variance as a farmers market when it comes to building,  
> structures and facilities (we are an open air market).
> Over the past few years one very vocal member of the board has  
> expressed his concern over the things being offered at the market,  
> saying that "nothing should be offered for sale at a farmers market  
> that hasn't been grown in the ground and picked by a farmer".  This  
> gentleman is now Chairman of the Board.  While stating that the  
> "bell has been rung, and cannot be unrung" he then went on to attack  
> Yarn and Soap offered at the market saying they are not Farm  
> Products.  When challenged with the facts that the yarn was being  
> made from locally shorn sheep and being spun at the market itself  
> (mostly as an attractive educational booth for the kids) he said  
> he'd "yield 50% on the yarn because sheep live on farms, but I don't  
> care if its on a spinning wheel or a butane torch it's still not  
> something that should be at a farmers market"  As to the soap (I am  
> one of the soap makers), our Market Manager told him that Soap was a  
> farm product and offered at many farmers markets.  He responded that  
> just because others are doing it does not make it right.  He went on  
> to state that he would lay long odds that nothing in the soap at our  
> market came from a farm.  He warned us that he has seen the market  
> grow further and further from his concept of a Farmers Market, and  
> we should be very aware of that in the future.  Despite all of this,  
> the board voted unanimously to grant our permit (and has in fact  
> done so for the past 18 years.)
> Our bylaws require that 50% of our vendors are produce, 25%  
> horticultural, 25% processed goods/other".  All of our vendors are  
> required to grow/produce within our county.  Besides yarn and soap,  
> both of which are side products of produce vendors, we have vendors  
> offering baked goods, smoked fish (locally caught and prepared),  
> herbed oils and vinegars, lobsters, cut flowers and arrangements,  
> worm composters, worm tea, worm castings (one vermiculture vendor),  
> lavender sachets, honey, beeswax candles,
> I have sent out a copy of the Board of Health meeting video to all  
> of the market members and have invited them to join me at the Public  
> Comment portion of the next BOH meeting to help educate the board  
> and stand up for ourselves.  Our market manager and board president  
> has suggested that we let sleeping dogs lie because we have to get  
> this permit every year.  I am concerned that the dog seems to be  
> waking up and growling and is about to bite me in the A**.
> When this reared its head two years ago I presented them with data  
> regarding the USDA market, it's vendors and products, our state's Ag  
> Dept's managed markets and their vendors and products, as well as  
> data on the products at the oldest continually operating market in  
> the country during Public Press.
> I feel strongly that those who sit in silence while their rights are  
> being threatened shall inevitably lose them due to their apathy.
> I welcome comments and suggestions for handling (or not) this  
> situation
> Darnell Caffoni
> Boxwood Gardens
> Cape Cod Massachusetts

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