everyone wants to be in the farmers market business

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UPDATE June 5th, 2013 11:45 A.M.

The following was posted on the West Vincent Farmers Market page on Facebook this morning:

WVFM

Look I don’t want to split hairs, and I will preface my comments AGAIN with the statement that I am a HUGE fan of farmers markets.

As per what I heard from people who went to the West Vincent township meeting on Monday they need a zoning variance from Upper Uwchlan because although West Vincent owns the land it is in that Upper Uwchlan township and if that is true why not just tell people they need a zoning variance?  It happens. 

And for what it is worth I have followed a number of farmers markets which have opened over the past few years and what I saw is those markets had all their permits and whatnot in order BEFORE any agreements were reached with a municipality or firm market dates were announced. Not trying to split hairs but I have observed this process with this market and between the dust up of whomever was posting on the Anselma page and this, I think it would be helpful if they just slowed down and did things correctly and I would further suggest if they do indeed need a zoning variance that they tell people when Upper Uwchlan is meeting on that so they can take their market supporters to that meeting. 

Also if they are going to be a market governed by a non-profit status they should post that and the type of non-profit (501c3 or whatever). 

And a special message to those upset by this post: I did not create this controversy, have merely commented on it as is my right.  I am a big fan of farmers markets and an even bigger fan of doing things the right way. I am sorry if that upsets you.

The Daily Local covered this too:

Fate of farmers’ market remains unsettled

BEFORE:

UPDATE 9:07 PM – I was messaged by an attendee to the West Vincent meeting:

ken (miller) says he will not participate….the township taxpayers are footing the bills so far…ken (miller) says that the farmers market people will have to apply for a variance

Explain to me again how West Vincent can approve a farmers market on land it  owns in another municipality? Do they have magical zoning exception super powers or something? So they are saying that they passed the agreement only and per the agreement it is up to the farmers market people to get the required permits? Wonder if they will be using the West Vincent Township  lawyers and who will pay for that? And apparently old Claire Health Insurance Quinn said  the township is not charging any rent because it is for sustainability? Well I guess she gets a free ride so Lady Godiva over there thinks everyone else should too?   A very bizarro world over there in West Vincent…

EARLIER:

Who knew?  I plopped up a post about food drama, err farmers market drama. It was about the newly minted but yet to be held or approved West Vincent Farmers Market.  And apparently the location was partially in Upper Uwchlan?  Neat trick that, huh?

Well needless to say even Chickenman was interested…something about needing 10 acres total to have this market and needing 2 acres from Upper Uwchlan because they have 8 acres?  But then the market would actually be on the 2 acres in Upper Uwchlan but they would call it West Vincent because the balance West Vincent land wasn’t conducive to a market by topography or something and West Vincent owns this land in a neighboring municipality? I guess this is new math and I should get out my abacus? Or magic wand?

So I got a comment  (see below) from someone who told me to speak to these Cantrell people.  I dug around and discovered she does business with them – web design.  She is sticking up for her friends, that’s cool.  And I think Maysie’s Farm is a great idea anyway.  I know nothing about Cucina Verde. But this commenter also did not understand that I had no issue with these Cantrell people per se, what I took issue with was the apparent round the back door approach by West Vincent if that makes sense?  She also made some remark about it being difficult to get a township to pass something that doesn’t directly benefit town board members and ouchies my dear that is what a conflict of interest is, is it not?

And we all hear that West Vincent Supervisor Ken Miller’s farm would be a producer so how is that something free from errr, conflict of interest?  I mean it is entirely up to these market folks if Farmer Miller’s Farm is part of this thing, but if that is to be the case a recusal is in order n’est–ce pas?

wv market1

Now apparently the plot thickens.  Sources tell me that some folks made inquiries to Upper Uwchlan Township regarding this market and their role.  Apparently Upper Uwchlan has not agreed to any market?  Something about no permit was issued and that if West Vincent wanted a permit they would have to obtain a zoning variance?  This rural zoning is all a bit fuzzy to me but it is something to do with if you want a farmers market the stuff has to be grown on the property on which you are holding the market? And as one resident quipped today what farm in Upper Uwchlan grows silver jewelry and Washington State sea glass? And I am told this info came from the township manager Cary Vargo? Apparently Upper Uwchlan sent an e-mail to West Vincent to be followed up by a letter? Anyone have that letter in their hot little hands yet?

What I do have that is MOST interesting is the market contract between West Vincent Township and the homeless and yet to be West Vincent Farmers Market.  (see LICENSEAGREEMENT WVFM )

This is not my first rodeo and I know a little about getting these markets established in new municipalities.  Who the heck does a market agreement before there is a set location and public consensus???

Other things in addition to the fact that this indeed seems to be the Cantrell Market after all  (“West Vincent Farmers Market Association, an unincorporated association whose address is  Maysie’s Farm Conservation Center” ) is they proposed hours every Wednesday between 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Call me crazy but most markets are umm 3 maybe 4 hours. And this event counts as a special event in my mind so where is their event insurance? And what up with a license fee of $1.00?  Is that all the municipality will make?  What are the fees and what not involved?  Will taxes be collected for both municipalities or just one?  And how is it West Vincent is licensing land in Upper Uwchlan to a farmers market anyway? So is this a non-profit run market then?  (I have asked the question regarding non-profit status and Maysie’s farm before.)

So I am guessing this West Vincent meeting could be interesting this evening?  Here is hoping lots of people go.  And just so we are CRYSTAL CLEAR, I am not and never will be anti-farmers market – I love them.  What I don’t like is things that are not done properly.  West Vincent is such a beautiful place so why is it everything that this local government touches such a mess?

If I was a betting person I would say  Supervisor Miller wants to sign the agreement tonight unless someone makes a fuss, yes?  In addition what do you want to bet that West Vincent applies to Upper Uwchlan lickety split for a zoning hearing date? Also what do you want to bet that this hinky market will open pending the outcome of the Upper Uwchlan Zoning Hearing Board decision? And why is it in every other municipality the zoning is generally done before something new begins?

And a little history I find amusing here.  Didn’t West Vincent  shut down Pearl’s Market for zoning at Route 100 and Horseshoe Trail?  Pearl’s is now on or near Little Conestoga Road in Upper Uwchlan isn’t it?  Amusing irony is it not?
I swear the drama in the warped Mayberry known as West Vincent is like no other….

3 thoughts on “everyone wants to be in the farmers market business

  1. Goodness gracious, I didn’t intend to do anything controversial: I simply saw that you made some public comments about my friends Sam and Annmarie, and wanted to make sure you knew how to contact them in case you wanted more info. It’s not a secret that I have done web work for them in the past — your suggestion that you had to “dig up” this info is a bit histrionic — since my credit is prominent on all of my customers’ sites. As it happens, I am no longer Annmarie’s webmaster (and can’t be responsible if her current webmaster hasn’t yet removed my credit), and Maysie’s hasn’t had an update in several years, and in any case does not pay me: I do the farm’s website on a volunteer basis.

    Nonetheless, I thought my suggestion was perfectly in line with good journalistic practice: I simply suggested you might want to contact a source(s) directly, particularly if you are wondering publicly whether they are “the movers and the shakers who are behind” this issue.

    Regarding my comments about townships being hard to move unless the issue in question benefits board members directly, I suppose I can apologize for being a cynical liberal in a very red corner of our mostly blue part of the state: I am still feeling somewhat singed from my own dealings with our township over a years-long road issue in our neighborhood. By the way, for the record, I do not live in West Vincent (I’m in Willistown), I do not know anything about this issue beyond what I read on your blog, and I have no direct interest in that farmer’s market with the exception of planning to buy produce there.

    I don’t know why you think it’s a good idea to invent a conspiracy theory around this issue. I assume it’s going to be mostly the same producers at West Vincent as we had at Anselma for the past couple of years, and that included more farms than just Maysie’s. I just think you should maybe speak to the people involved directly rather than manufacturing controversy where they isn’t any. Honestly, I usually enjoy your blog, but I’m just a little shocked to read what seems to be some kind of (not clearly stated) accusation against people I’ve known very well for decades, and whose main goal in this life is to promote sustainable agriculture here and in less fortunate communities worldwide.

    • Methinks the lady doth protesteth too much. I did not invent a conspiracy theory and resent the implication. I can’t please all of the people all of the time so if you don’t like the post that is the way it goes . My opinions are ones I am entitled to and as for West Vincent your friends should remember the old adage lay down with dogs, get up with fleas. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Pingback: pondering farmers markets | chestercountyramblings

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