Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Farmers Market?

I get occasional junk mail from the County Agent. This is actually the extension service from the Ag school at the University of Florida. I’m not sure how that is different from the County Agent, but I guess it is.

Last week I got a newsletter that contained a little blurb about a meeting that was scheduled for Friday evening about possibly starting a farmers market in one of the little towns about 4 or 5 miles from our place.

I thought this might be a good place to market my eggs. My bride and I went to check it out.

I guess I expected a bunch of farmers and market gardeners discussing who grows what and how to make sure prospective customers have a wide array of things to buy.

What went on was rather different.

There were two or three other farmers. There were half a dozen quazi official types. The Mayor of the town was there. The County agent, like I said, as well as his counterpart from the next county over. One woman was some sort of expert on starting farmers markets. I couldn’t tell if she worked for some level of government or was a freelance consultant.

The discussion was all about parking, permits, license and whether it (the farmers market) should be run by the city or some corporate entity that would need to be created.

One lady did mention that she approved of farmers markets because the food there was usually better than what is on offer at the grocery store. Other than that I don’t think anyone mentioned what would be sold there or where it would come from.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that the best way to get me muttering four letter words under my breath is to expose me to any sort of bureaucracy. Mostly under my breath.

Around here farmers markets are mainly in the cities. In rural areas like where we are folks just put up roadside stands if they want to sell something. I’ve considered doing this myself but I don’t think we have enough of a product line to make it worth stopping at or enough time to run it properly.

It is also possible that a farmers market could provide some cover from the risk of official ambush.

WARNING! RANT ALERT! WARNING! (This next bit is an attempt at humor, how successful the attempt is left to the reader) :-)

What I mean by official ambush is something like this; we have a willing buyer and a willing seller agreeing to transfer ownership of some property at a mutually agreeable price.

Next thing you know, some third party shows up and identifies themselves as a duly appointed representative of the Bureau of Broccoli, Bean Sprouts, Bok Choy, and other vegetables having names beginning with the letter “B”. They demand to know where your form 544C/2 is.

Perhaps this joker can simply be referred to the market manager on the grounds that the market itself is protected by an official entity exempt from their authority.

It is also possible that the market manager, thinking of his own career, may decide to condemn in the strongest term any vendor who would dare contemplate working the market without a proper form 544C/2.

Busted! Conspiracy to commit agriculture! Bad Farmer!


So we'll see where this all goes. Obviously I’m skeptical but I do have some hope this could be useful. Stay tuned.


Emily said...

Hi Jim! I saw your blog on Herrick Kimball's DVD list so stopped by to say hello and am enjoying what I'm reading. We're new to this agrarian business but have lots of ideas to implement, Lord willing, and plenty of encouragement from folks online like Herrick and Tom Scepaniak, just to name a couple. The farmer's market idea appeals to me as well, but I'm afraid of all the red tape that is undoubtedly involved, so may just end up setting out an egg and vegetable stand out on the road. P.S. My little flock of a dozen chickens are enjoying a fan also that I've set up against their pen. At first they ran to the other side all nervous and squawking but now they practically cuddle right up to it. Beats the heat!

Northern Farmer said...

This is a great post! I think you think like me which makes you somewhat dangerous but what the heck, eh. Everyday I think about the fact that there's so many things I do that are illegal, or could be figured illegal by some joker that has nothing better to do with their life.