Author Topic: Farmers will do best by growing together  (Read 1186 times)

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Offline CatManDo

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Farmers will do best by growing together
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 05:33:06 AM »

A morning visit to a local farmers market offers a chance to experience true capitalism at work. Farmers who have worked hard to produce plenty of quality products are able to bring their goods to a community market where they compete with other farmers who have also worked the soil to produce their goods. Customers — most of them neighbors — decide which goods they will purchase based on desire, quality and price. Everyone’s a winner. The customers get quality, locally grown food, and the farmers make a profit.

With farming in the United States mostly turned into corporate ventures that are more interested in the bottom line than the nation’s bellies, it is especially important that we have opportunities to purchase from small, local farmers. That is why we were disappointed when the largest farmers market organization, Greater Springfield Farmers Market, decided to impose a “non-compete” clause on its members.

While we do not suggest that the GSFM is prohibited from taking this action, which representatives of the market insist was done through a democratic vote, we do propose that it is a bad idea.

As Stacy Miller, executive director of the National Farmers Market Coalition in Charlottesville, Va., said in Wes Johnson’s report Sunday, the action is “potentially counterproductive to building a viable and diverse local food system in the region.”

Southwest Missouri used to be a farming community, a part of the country that could sustain its residents on produce grown locally, meat raised locally and products made and sold locally. That “diverse local food system” has been undermined over the years by a variety of pressures, including actions that made it difficult for farmers to sell their goods at a fair price.

The GSFM has been the main outlet for local farmers for a long time. The group’s primary location is on the parking lot of Battlefield Mall. Matt O’Reilly’s Farmers Market of the Ozarks, which plans a covered site on Republic Road about two miles from the mall, is the apparent foil to this move.

The community has shown that it supports locally grown products at both brick-and-mortar stores and outdoor markets. The growers in the community need to work together to provide as many venues as the market will support, not fight over who can be in theirs.

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« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 08:55:39 AM by HannaH »