Motion rescind RFP 21200.
Regardless of the circumstances leading to the introduction of this document, a more thorough and thoughtfully researched plan would better benefit all interested parties and the community at large.
There is clearly a need for policy to be introduced for the use of town-owned property. However, this should not rest solely as a reaction to a citizens demand to take over the current markets. Allowing interested parties to, in essence, bid on these markets, to garner the benefits of the grass roots people who have invested years of time, talent, network building, sweat equity, and continuing growth and development, is simply a poor business decision.
This RFP is only in place for the established locations at the established times and on the established days of the current Plymouth Farmers’ Market.
I am a great fan of this Farmers’ Market. I was a vendor of prepared foods at the market for four years. Part of my personal mission as a prepared-foods vendor was to educate guests to the uses and benefits of the wide array of locally grown, locally raised, or locally produced foods available from local farmers. I made it my priority to prepare many of my selections using foods purchased from the farmers at the markets that I participated in. I spent a farm season as an intern one or two days each week at one of our local organic farms. I was awarded the “Best of Boston Restaurant – Locavore” distinction in 2008. I have been an active volunteer at the Plymouth Farmer’s Market since I closed my restaurant in October of 2010 and currently earn my living as the chef and general manager in Boston’s South End at a neighborhood market although I do not have the time to prepare foods for the Farmers’ Market with the current demands of my career, under this RFP I would be prohibited from participating.
The Plymouth Farmers’ Market is an inclusive family event. Local farmers bring out their best for the community. Farmers get to know their guests and their guests’ tastes personally. Guests at the market get to know farmers and food producers. There is a plethora of information exchanged, such as how to prepare particular foods, what else at the market might they go well with, how many pounds would be appropriate for the size of a family, the culinary history of heirloom plants, and the geographic history of our indigenous plants. This is exciting stuff for folks who make a conscientious choice to buy local and know their farmers. Additionally the market provides a simple and healthy social gathering place. Many people visit just to visit, but they are unlikely to leave without some treasure that does not grow well in their soil type or that might fit in their refrigerator, such as fresh eggs or delicate, ripe raspberries that have just been picked.
Rain or shine the farmers and vendors are there. By now most farmers have already ordered or saved their seeds for the coming season. Most farmers will have already planned their crop rotations to maintain healthy soil. The garlic was planted in the fall for a spring harvest. Seedlings for onions will be planted in greenhouses within weeks. Many surrounding cities and towns court the farmers of the Plymouth Farmers’ Market. Their future is yet unsure of this market. The farmer’s deserve to have some security in their Home-Market place. They could in most cases go elsewhere and earn higher sales for their labor and passion. However many are committed to this particular market, their years of building clientele close to home. Without knowing they are secure with the experienced Market Master, some farmers may be forced to move to other markets that are eagerly awaiting their experienced presence.
This would be a great loss to our community. Relationships have been nourished for years. Trust has been built between parties. Families have become friends, and friends have become a market community.
Could this RFP possibly be labeled fair or reasonable? Has the market community been reduced to the banality of the bidder with the most disposable income? Is the town truly interested in using this fine market place simply for fiscal gain?
Please consider voicing support for this unique opportunity by rescinding the RFP, making a commitment to research and developing more comprehensive initiatives for 2013, and grant a special permit to the current Plymouth Farmer’s Market for the 2012 season.
Barbara has fostered a true market community. It is a product of the many components that come together in building a sustainable market and food community. I believe that the attention raised and the awareness brought to the market mission and the farmers in particular has been a gift to our local community. This situation presents all of us with an opportunity to grow and nourish our commitments to support the web of life that ultimately serves all of us as we serve each other.
With much gratitude,
Martha M. Stone
We remain hopeful that the Selectmen and Procurement folks follow their gut and not the money. We will find out on Tuesday night. Stay tuned, or come down to the meeting at 7pm on Tue Jan 31st.