Thursday, May 3, 2012

DFM Letter

Not to sound sore, but it's been nearly two months since I submitted a written letter to the Durham Farmer's Market asking why they could have refused such a distinctive bakestand as our own.  As there has been no reply as yet, I thought I would at least post a record of the initial letter sent.  This is not meant to castigate the DFM, but instead for them to improve their internal process and create transparency in their operations.

Ari Berenbaum
Berenbaum's Bakery
                                                                                                                          March 9, 2012   

To the Durham Farmer's Board of Directors,

Upon the suggestion of market manager Erin Kauffman, I am writing in order to gain more insight into our bakery's rejection from the new vendor selection process this year.  We would like to know specifically why our bakery did not meet the criteria for selection.

We believe that our application fulfilled all the criteria for selection: unique product (Jewish bread and pastry); existing and enthusiastic customer base; highly-experienced professional baker; Durham-made, etc.

Many of our customers ask us, "Why are you not a part of the larger market?" (we set up outside the market), or "When are they going to let you in?", to which I never have a sufficient answer.

I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the DFM evaluation process, and your efforts to keep the selection process transparent, as befits a nonprofit community organization.  In my previous experience with grant application writing, applications are often returned with a score, based on objective criteria differentiating between levels of quality in application.  I would appreciate knowing our score, if there is one, or any comments from the Board regarding our application.  It would be helpful to know the specific criteria for application acceptance.  In Ms. Kauffman’s subsequent email to me, she stated only “uniqueness of product offering, quality of application, dynamics of current market composition, and fit with Market goals and mission,” all of which could be interpreted subjectively. 

Thank you for your consideration, and I would appreciate a timely reply.  Feel free to reach me by phone or email.


Ari Berenbaum

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