Keep Summit Farmers Market in Deforest Ave LotJune 23rd, 2013 | Posted by in Community Affairs
Summit Downtown Farmers Market
Mike Rassweiler, NorthSlopeFarm.com
June 22, 2013
Certified Organic Produce Vendor suffers from questionable actions of Summit Downtown, Inc..
Summit Downtown, Inc. has organized the Summit Downtown Farmers Market, located at the Deforest Avenue Parking lot, on the corner of Maple Street, for many years of excellent Community and Farmer Friendly access.
In 2013, the Executive Director, has instigated a move of the market to Beechwood Road and Bank Street. A simple phone poll of the 5 long term Produce vendors proved that 4 of the five vendors believe it is a bad idea to move the market, and to date, one week ahead of the move, the Market Organizers have not responded to questions about where some of the Farmers will Park their trucks. If you speak to other vendors at the market the common theme is “why move the market, the Deforest Ave and Maple Street parking lot is an excellent location.”
Public Safety – Summit Downtown Inc., seems to want to create more of a “Street Fair” environment. From a Public Safety standpoint, they are putting the downtown Businesses and Residents along Beechwood Ave at risk. The Fire Department will be virtually unable to respond to fire alarms. The Farmers Market in the Deforest Ave Parking lot allows easy access to the Community, is surrounded by parking for customers, provides Farmer Friendly access and does not create any Public Safety Hazards.
NorthSlopeFarm.com has been a long term vendor at Summit and values the opportunity originally created by the founders of the market. We were surprised to see a map (that is the only notification we have been given), that we will no longer have direct access to our Market Truck, during the market. We use our insulated truck to keep our fresh produce fresh, so the first customer at 8am and the last customer at 1pm receive high quality, safe and cool produce. Summit Downtown Inc., did not inform us we would lose access to our truck this year, nor have they replied to our requests for concrete information about where or how to manage this new arrangement!
Moving the Summit Downtown Farmers Market is at best, a bad idea. At worst, it is a example of an organization that has lost track of the original intention to protect a space for Farmers and the community to gather, easily and safely, downtown.
We will try to honor our contract to participate in the Market, but it saddens us to be punished for our years of service, by having a great location taken away, replaced by a situation that seems designed to crush our spirit and reduce the quality of service that our customers have come to count on.
If you are concerned about the arbitrary treatment of NorthSlopeFarm, in particular, and the importance of maintaining a “Farmer Friendly Market Environment”, help us figure out how to make Summit Downtown Inc., accountable for their actions. Right now they are ignoring the concerns of the vendors, putting businesses and citizens into a haphazard and unsafe situation, and acting without Ethical or Practical considerations.
A quick assessment of the current situation is that Summit Downtown, Inc. receives over $70,000 in fees from vendors. It may be that a new entity should refocus the attention of the Summit Downtown Farmers Market on protecting a safe and Farmer Friendly environment by bidding for the rental of the Deforest Avenue Parking lot. My guess is, given a choice, current vendors would choose to pay the fees to stay in the safe and easy environment of the Deforest Ave. Parking Lot. We will be looking into the question of how to submit a bid to the Parking Authority, and we would appreciate any political influence that can be added to the effort of preserving what has been a great market location to Date!!
Please let us know if you would like more information by talking to us at the market, or send us an email at NorthSlopeFarm@comcast.net.
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