Today, the city of Raleigh published the press release seen below stating a new farmer’s market is coming to Southeast Raleigh in replacement of the two grocery stores that closed in January of this  year.  The Raleigh City Council decided to supply $15,000, to help with start-up costs.  Local reports were made on the closure of the grocery stores in January, and meetings were held to find a solution to the significant area of Raleigh with no nearby grocery store.  I didn’t attend the meetings, but I hope the best solution they could formulate was not a farmer’s market.

I understand the reasoning for this, the people in the area need a grocery store.  My concerns are that this farmer’s market is not going to satisfy the needs of the community or be a lasting resolution for  the problem.  One of the old Kroger stores is now an IGA.  This new store has hired some of the unemployed in the area, and also gives a year-round supply of food to the people living in that area; an economic win-win.

A farmer’s market is conditional on the climate and cannot be open year-round.  One example of this being a bad idea is if the summer is hotter than usual, there will be less crop production than expected.  Or what if we have another drought that would affect crop production or could possible close the farmer’s market?  The real solution is to let the private sector take its course.  Kroger closed, and IGA opened – problem solved and the city of Raleigh didn’t have to spend taxpayer dollars to fund the store.  The real problem here is that a temporary farmer’s market does not replace a grocery store – this is wasted Raleigh taxpayer money.  If the city council would let the private sector take its course, a new store would move into the old location and the area would have two stores again.

May 16, 2013

Farmer’s Market Planned for Southeast Raleigh

A new farmer’s market, featuring fresh local products, is planned to begin operating in southeast Raleigh this summer. The market is being developed in response to a need generated by the recent closing of two supermarkets in southeast Raleigh.

Financial support to help offset the project’s start-up costs was approved by the Raleigh City Council on May 7. The $15,000 donation will come from Council’s Fiscal Year 2013 contingency fund.

Products are scheduled to be provided by members of a local nonprofit comprised of African-Americans and other farmers with limited resources. The location and start date of the market will be announced later.

The organizing effort was spearheaded by Raleigh City Council Member Eugene Weeks; Wallace O. Green, Raleigh Area Development Authority and Marrkens Development Center. The project will be managed by Marrkens Development Center; a local organization launched in 2009 by Margaret Rose Murray, to improve the health and well-being of the community and to provide job training.

For more information, contact Marrkens Development Center, 919-834-2206.