Changes not improvement


The Seymour Farmers market to this day has been open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Within the past six years, different committees have tried to make the market bigger then what it actually is.

The Seymour Main Street committee started to draw in craft and bake good vendors on the fourth Saturday of every month.

This was a great thing that made the market better, but they started to block off the parking lot where the market is held, and everyone would have to park across the street from the market. This did not work well for the elderly people who could not walk or not walk that far.

They eventually learned and set the parking lot up differently and left parking spaces open.

Seymour Main Street has since stepped away from the market and now the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce has taken over. They have formed a committee of 24 people to help organize it.

They have come up with a vendor handbook and have completely changed the way the market operates.

They have cut the market down to Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

They feel that having set times where people will be set up will attract more people.

They also see other markets outside of Seymour operate their markets in such a way.

There are a few local restaurants that come to the market to buy produce to make food for their customers. They now will not be able to buy produce daily to make their food.

The Farmers Market Handbook states the mission of the Seymour Area Farmers Market is to promote the exchange of fresh, quality local food and locally produced items between producers of our area and our residents.

What does fresh and local mean to you?

Fresh and local produce to me means produce that was picked either the night before or the morning of when the vendor is to set up.

Local means produce that was grown in Jackson County.

If a farmer grows produce and has to pick it before it goes bad on a Monday they cannot sell their produce until Wednesday.

This would end up being produce that has now been picked and set for two days before going to the market.

The same goes for if they went on a Saturday. Also did you know that some of the produce that is at the Seymour Farmers Market may be grown outside of Jackson County?

They are allowing vendors in Jackson County and a 60-mile radius.

So that means the produce that you purchased could have been grown in Louisville or Indianapolis.

I understand that produce is produce, but to me, I want to support a local farmer that is raising their produce in Jackson County.

The vendor handbook also states one of their goals is to give local producers a source of income.

There are some farmers who grow produce to take to the market that are retired or do not work.

This would be their only source of income. This is how they pay their bills, how they get food to eat and, not to mention, how they would provide for their family.

Changing these hours would cut down on their ability to earn income.

The vendor handbook also states that they are changing the way the market prices their items.

“The Seymour Area Farmers Market prohibits pricing it determines is noncompetitive.”

Meaning that you cannot even set your own prices.

If the vendor feels that $3.50 is too much for a dozen ears of sweet corn and wants to charge $2.75, that should be their choice.

The market goals are to provide produce to the entire community no matter what kind of income they have.

The vendor should be allowed to set their own price to cater to those who have a lower income.

In the contract that is signed annually by vendors, they now state that a vendor can get there 30 minutes before the market opens.

Someone who needs to arrive late or leave early needs to inform the market manager. Why do they need to do this?

If someone needs to arrive late or leave early, they are only hurting themselves out of income if they miss a sale. Who is it hurting if they are late or need to leave early?

This is Seymour. We are small community. The committee continues to state that they are looking at how other farmers markets operate, and this is how they operate.

Look at the nearby farmers markets in Bloomington, Columbus, Louisville and Indianapolis — they are all bigger cities with diverse cultures.

Yes, we have a diverse culture here, but the income level and size of our community is not suited enough to grow the market up to the bigger city standards.

Starting this year, vendors are required to pay $20 upfront to register, which they have never been required to pay before. A lot of vendors agree with this. This fee would be good advertisement money to use for the market.

I feel that in paying this money, vendors should be allowed to set up anytime Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There has never been any problems before, and not a single vendor has complained about the hours before.

If a consumer wants something, they drive by the market, and if a vendor is there, they stop and get what they need. If a vendor is not there, then they have to get it from the store.

To try and grow this market to be something bigger than what it is or to close off hours to producers who need income or have produce that could go bad if it does not go to the market is absurd.

If they want to tighten up on the policies and procedures that are in place, that is fine.

I also feel vendors should be from Jackson County only. It is not going to hurt the city or the market if a vendor is set up Monday through Friday.

Spencer Kindred is a resident of Seymour who used to sell produce at the Seymour Farmers Market but now just helps his grandparents with their booth at the market.

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