FYI- this is Florida and not northern California..
A few issues that I would like more information about from this story: one, if the market and the county had communicated in the past and two, how many local people think that flea market goods have too much room at this market and if they agree that a farmers market should not contain those goods. I’m not advocating for flea market goods at markets (my own markets were very strict about any non-food goods) but whether it is true that flea market goods are taking up most of the space in this market and whether those flea market goods have a place in farmers markets should be up to the local community, which certainly includes the municipality in question, but doesn’t mean the commissioners should decide these issues alone. It is important to note that in many cases across the Americas, staple markets have a place in many communities and can be a very useful type of market for small rural communities or for immigrant communities.
Lastly, the rule to only allow open-air markets to operate only 28 days per year seems awfully restrictive. I wonder when that was passed in Florida and how many counties have that rule? And is it to restrict flea markets but ends up restricting farmers markets too? I do know from my pals in farmers markets in Florida that the use of the term farmers market is all over the place across the state; resellers use the term in normal practice and of course, in a state like Florida that has massive agricultural exports, small farms and direct marketing are not likely to be valued as highly as in other states. Of course, California does have a thriving farmers market system, but also has a very different political climate and history.
For all of these issues, this is why I advocate for formal rules that allow for constant transparency and clarity in market governance. Rules that explain why, when, how and for whom a market operates can help reduce these issues before they get to crisis stage. In addition, this is also why I hope Farmers Market Coalition and their partners are successful in building a simple and usable data collection system; If all markets could gather a few comparable metrics each year, these issues might be more easily diverted or at least, add facts to lessen a charged situation.
The controversy started when Collier County commissioner Tom Henning used the word “gypsy” to describe vendors at the Golden Gate Community Center market. Commissioner Henning wanted to protect a business that complained the farmers market shoppers were taking up his parking spots….
While county commission retracted their initial vote to shut the market down, their problems aren’t over.
County laws say open-air markets can only operate 28 days a year. But vendors at the farmers market want to stay open all year. A petition with 1,300 signatures will be presented at a county commission meeting on Tuesday.
this from another
Taylor said the county’s issue is that it’s not a farmer’s market, but more of a flea market and it appears to be disrupting local businesses.
Protestors rally in support of Golden Gate farmers market – NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral & Naples, Florida.