Friday, July 6, 2012

DFM's Take on the Food Truck Fiasco

From their weekly newsletter:

For 15 years the farmers, bakers, food artisans, cheese makers, vintners, and crafters who are members of the Durham Farmers' Market (DFM) have been dedicated to creating a venue that fosters a face-to-face connection between the producer and the buyer, and operating in a way that sustains the land, the environment, and helps to grow our businesses, and our community. The DFM is also dedicated to ensuring that the products we sell are 1) produced locally by our vendors, and 2) comply with State and local regulations.  We operate under a strict set of rules, conduct inspections, and investigate complaints. We believe that this system of governance has been vital to the growth and good reputation of the market, and that our customers respect and value the integrity of the products they find at the Durham Farmers' Market. We welcome the vibrant and burgeoning local food movement represented by food-trucks and other innovations and consider ourselves to be a vital part of this movement. We believe that this focus on good food and fellowship has been central to creating the dynamic and fun community experience that the Farmers' Market is in the heart of Durham.  

Over a year ago, a representative of the DFM along with representatives of Durham Central Park (DCP, our landlord at the Pavilion at Durham Central Park), met with Durham Parks & Recreation and the Assistant City Attorney. DFM expressed some concerns of our members over the recent rapid growth in unregulated street vending around the Market. We looked for guidance on how to handle issues of congestion, safety, and clarity between our market members and street vendors. We were aware that DCP and the City were considering some of our questions; however, Durham Farmers' Market played no role in the drafting of the City's new guidelines and in fact, is seeing them for the first time just as the public is.  

The Durham Farmers' Market wholeheartedly supports a public process on this issue that will help to create a fair and equitable set of guidelines for all types of public food vending; that will address the needs, concerns, and opportunities of all stakeholders; and will keep Durham the exciting, funky, and fun food destination our local customers and folks from all over the country have come to love.  

See you Saturday,
Durham Farmers' Market Board of Directors

It's a pretty weak reaction in my opinion considering the severity of the proposed changes to the code:

Should this proposal go through, no food truck or mobile peddler (such as ourselves) will be able to operate in the Central Park Zone during Market hours.

If you would like Berenbaum's to remain near the Durham Farmer's Market, come out to City Hall Monday at 5:30PM and let our City's government hear your voice.

[Ed. Looks like we're safe for now.  The stellar turnout objecting to the proposal means it will go through another round of information gathering and revision before coming before City Council as an information item.  Could be a year or more before any changes occur, and it looks like the DFM is backing off of prohibiting mobile vendors from the scene.]

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