Customers are leaving the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market and telling vendors who continue to sell there that they will no longer buy from them.
Why is this happening? It began with the discovery that an owner of Schooner Creek Farm is a member of the American Identity Movement, a white supremacist organization.
What have the vendors done to deserve losing their customers? They have done nothing but work hard for not much income to supply this community with local, fresh, healthful food – many for decades.
What will be lost as customers and vendors leave the market? A market that has provided access to this local, fresh, healthful food to the food insecure citizens of our community for decades.
This market has run the Plant a Row for the Hungry program for 19 years, through which farmers have donated over 400,000 pounds of food to Hoosier Hills Food Bank. This market has accepted SNAP (food stamps) for 14 years, the first farmers market in Indiana to do so, and participated in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which includes WIC (for low-income mothers and children) and a program for low-income seniors, for more than 20 years.
Beginning in 2012, the market started doubling SNAP benefits up to $18 per week, again the first market in Indiana to do so. This market now doubles SNAP benefits up to $27 per week. For $24 in WIC benefits, recipients can receive $48 of matching funds, providing $72 to use at the market; qualifying seniors receive matching funds of $42 for $20 in benefit, giving them $62 to spend.
The market has worked with the Farm to Family Fund to purchase food from vendors at the close of the Tuesday Market for Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard beginning last year.
What will we lose if the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market closes? – access to fresh, local, healthful food for so many food insecure homes in our community.
Janice Lilly, Cary Buzzelli, Ed and Wendy Bernstein, Deborah Piston-Hatlen and Merrill Hatlen
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