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Hamilton announces changes to Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market following reopening


People walk through the aisles of vendors at the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market near City Hall on June 16. A letter sent June 4 alleges a vendor at the market, Schooner Creek Farm, is owned by white supremacists. IDS file photo

Two weeks after the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market was suspended due to concern for public safety, Mayor John Hamilton announced Tuesday the city’s plan for reopening the market.

According to a press release, the farmers’ market will reopen at 8 a.m. Aug. 17 in its normal location in front of Bloomington City Hall. The city has added cameras to monitor the area and will increase the presence of police and other public safety officers.

The city will increase the market area by closing Morton Street from Seventh Street south of the Smallwood on College parking garage entrance, Seventh Street between Morton Street and the B-Line Trail and Eighth Street west of the market to the entrance of the Cook Family Health Center. 

Additional changes include new market ambassadors, which are volunteers with experience at the market, and new signs that clearly indicate flyering and expression areas as well as market rules, according to the release. 

The changes come after months of protests against market vendor Schooner Creek Farm. A letter sent to the farmers’ market in June alleged its owners, Sarah Dye and Douglas Mackey, were members of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa. 

The City of Bloomington decided to suspend the farmers’ market July 29 due to concerns over public safety. In the release, Hamilton denounced gun violence and white nationalist terrorism following mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

“We’ve all seen communities come together after dreadful tragedies,” Hamilton said in the release. “We need to do so before one arrives, by embracing the trust and care we so need of each other.”

The city is also planning long-term efforts to address the presence of white nationalism and to improve the market, including engaging mediation and community safety groups, supporting community events to express solidarity for those affected by white nationalism and evaluating market options for next year. 

“With the market reopening on Saturday, our community is reclaiming our public space and, I urge, coming together to live out our community values of inclusion and caring,” Hamilton said.

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