Actually this was Saturday's Must Read but I'm just getting 'round to catching up on a lot of things to blog. My friend Monica Eng reports on the good news of three more farmers markets opening, and the especially good news that they will be serving "food deserts", areas generally lacking in fresh food options. The good news is somewhat tapped down by the reporting
Farmers markets sponsored by the city have strict rules that allow only those who grow the food to sell it and prohibit the sale of prepared foods. The new hybrid market in Bronzeville will allow cooked foods, antiques vendors, music, re-sold produce and other items prohibited at regular markets.As I have become friends with Robin, who did such a fantastic job organizing this season's winter markets (which ended with a bang yesterday), I've learned that there's some tension between antiques, crafts and the what-not and farmers at markets. Essentially farmers don't seem to like the artsy types. Me, I not much for that kinda stuff either, although my wife can spend as much money as I do on food as on home-made earrings, but I think any thing that drives traffic to a farmers market is a good thing. I, obviously, have problems with the re-sold produce.
The rationale for the third party produce is that the neighborhood has such limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the first place."We wanted the opportunity to have some resale of things like citrus and bananas," [market manager] Johnson-Gabriel said.Me, I think that's a recipe for trouble, a vicious circle in the making. Too many market visitors will get tempted by the lower prices of the re-sold produce. Local farmers will give up on the market. I mean during the farmers market season do people need access to citrus and bananas? I would be more sympathetic to that argument if the market ran year round. I also know I'm being overly cynical and perhaps a bit, no it's really not racist because I see all kinds of people sticking to the least local food at the Oak Park Farmer's Market, but what, classist, I do not know, but I certainly don't trust people to make the local choice (always) on their own. I'm an eat local Trotskyite.