A bull market

Update: The N&R reports on the meeting.

The overwhelming sentiment expressed at the meeting was for the market to remain ‘local’ – a term which might need to be more clearly defined in the policy.  All but maybe one of the speakers from the floor advocating for a policy to allow more non-local products were customers of the Market and not the people who depend upon it for their livelihood.

The farmers who spoke were nearly unanimous and quite adamant – “keep it local” and, perhaps, make it even more so.

My take so far: It is, and has been for over 100 years, the Greensboro FARMER’S Curb Market.

One unsettling aspect to this mini-drama is that some members of City Council are interjecting themselves into the debate and ‘speaking out of school’.  I’ll be frank…

You, the City Council, appointed a group of citizens, in this case as the P&R Commission, to look at issues such as this and recommend policies to you.  Let us do our jobs and, more importantly, let city employees do theirs, and keep your meddling to a minimum until we carry out what we were appointed (or hired) to do.

You are just creating more problems, not solving any.

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During today’s Parks & Recreation Commission meeting (my last meeting as Chairman, BTW), the current policy stipulating what can be sold at the Farmer’s Curb Market and by whom will be up for public discussion and review.  The current policy:

2   WHO MAY SELL.  Selling space shall be strictly limited to growers and artisans residing in the state of North Carolina or adjoining states. No reselling of any prepared foods or craft items of any type shall be permitted at any time. Reselling refers to buying produce or other goods from a wholesaler and selling the product, as is, to the customer.  Reselling of certain farm products and/or produce may be allowed by special permission of the application committee.

3   WHAT MAY BE SOLD.  The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market exists for the selling of farm products by the farmer who raises it or his/her agent, or for artisanal food products made by the seller (See schedule 1 for a complete list of products which may be sold). A number of tables may also be made available for the sale of crafts made by the seller. Priority is given 1st to growers/farmers, 2nd to prepared foods/baked goods vendors, and 3rd to crafts vendors.

Some vendors are insisting that their customers have a taste for non-local products (i.e. certain cheeses and produce) and the current policy restricts their ability to serve their customers fully.

Carrboro’s wildly successful market is as purely local as it gets.  Their contention is that people go there expecting only “local” products and that’s what they get.  Greensboro’s has allowed some exceptions under certain circumstances.

The point of all of this seems to be that more and more people are wanting to buy from sources they personally know and trust, and that is a good thing.  Another good thing is that the Farmer’s Curb Market is at a tipping point of opportunity brought about by increasing numbers of vendors and expanding crowds eager to purchase their food and other products from their neighbors.

Perhaps we should expand the market to accommodate stricty local vendors as well as the mixed variety.  Here’s an idea.

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5 Comments

  1. David Wharton
    Posted September 10, 2008 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    How about requiring that non-local products be marketed as such, for example with a sign saying where it’s from?

  2. mc
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    The council is doing the same thing here as they did with the pool- disregarding the committee’s recommendation

  3. Jan
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    David: I wish I’d known you were chairman of Parks and Rec. The Children’s Theatre of Greensboro is a TREASURE to the city, as is the Farmers’ Market. Please encourage the current board to fund fully and even increase funding of the Children’s Theatre. Also, please do all you can to keep the Farmer’s Market the fine venue that it has been for years.

    Thanks for all you do!!!! Greensboro needs more citizens like the Hoggards!

  4. Jan
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    David:

    In all your good-doing, please remember AYCOCK Middle School. Schools are the pulse of a neighborhood.

  5. Jan
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    David

    After all those years of reading David Wharton’s “little urbanity,” and seeing it go from almost daily.. to the hiatus.. to the focus on academia.. to the rebirth.., I was disappointed to learn that the privilege of reading Dr. Wharton’s musings is now by invitation only. Please send your actual and virtual neighbor my best.

    Jan