Your Raleigh State Farmers Market Needs Your Help!
Is the Raleigh State Farmers Market the Best in the Whole Damn Country?
by Rachel Wharton, James Beard Award-winning journalist
Open every day, all year round, the beating heart of the place is the 30,000-square-foot covered shed for farmers that grow produce and plants, nearly all from North Carolina. The 75-acre complex also has three restaurants: a biscuit and hot dog stand; a meat-and-three where most of the threes are procured on-site; and a Calabash-style seafood restaurant where the catch comes from the coast, just two hours east. It has an air-conditioned hall where stalls dressed up like country stores sell old-fashioned candy and canned okra, but also grass-fed beef and undersung species of local fish. It has an outpost of North Carolina’s Nahunta Pork Center, a garden furniture store, and an outdoor crafts area where you’ll find small food businesses selling West African-style doughnuts plus kettle corn and shaved ice….read entire story
The Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy Group has funded the development of a plan that would fundamentally change the face of the Raleigh State Farmers Market in the next 20 years in ways that are not reflective of the mission of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. More importantly, these changes would be to the detriment of family-owned businesses, farmers and people in need across North Carolina. This plan, which was approved by the Raleigh City Council and will cost an estimated $50 million, would displace long standing tenants of the market in favor of luxury condominiums, playgrounds and boutique hotel.
Why does this matter and how will it impact our community?
Impact to Local Farmers
Raleigh State Farmers Market Produce Wholesalers are the primary customers of our local farmers from across North Carolina who do not have the time or resources to distribute their own products. Removal of a centralized drop point for farmers will result in a significant disruption in our local food system. We need to protect the market and help it remain a food hub for the city instead of eliminating it and creating a food desert.
Impact to Local Charities
The Raleigh State Farmers Market is home to the Interfaith Food Shuttle and Meals on Wheels. These organizations, along with the NC Food Bank, serve hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians on an annual basis and depend, in large part, on the Produce Wholesalers at the market for food donations. Displacement from the market would cause significant financial hardship for these organizations and impact their ability to serve those in need.
Impact to Produce Wholesalers and the Community
The Raleigh State Farmers Market is the largest and most profitable market in the state. There are multiple Produce Wholesalers who have been a part of the market for three, four, five generations and more. They operate seven days a week, 365 days a year, and are the reason the lights stay on at the market. All of the Produce Wholesalers work with the North Carolina Agriculture Department to help the farmer, which in turn helps the community receive fresh local produce. Some major cities struggle to supply fresh produce to the inner city. We have a successful major food hub already working and easily available on the bus line to anyone that wants to come. Moving it away from the city will eliminate that resource for some people. There is not enough collective land to duplicate our market anywhere close to Raleigh.
Why is this happening?
The city of Raleigh and a few real estate developers see the market as a source of revenue. Like many things, it is a plan driven by money and by people who do not understand the roots and responsibilities of the Raleigh State Farmers Market. They believe that a place to entertain a few outweighs organizations that serve the entire population.
Developers believe the “cost of the dirt” the market sits on is more important and valuable than the businesses that occupy it. We respectfully disagree. We believe that there is no better use of land than feeding our population. The market exists to help farmers recoup the “cost of their dirt” that they grow our crops on.
We can coexist.
We want our city to be diverse by having a grand park AND a grand farmers market. Dorothea Dix Park is 308 acres and the Raleigh State Farmers Market occupies an additional 75 acres. There’s room to meet the needs of the whole community. The stated plan is to make the Raleigh State Farmers Market a destination, but it is already voted a top destination in Raleigh.
Your Raleigh State Farmers Market Needs Your Help!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Add your voice to those who are opposing this plan in two ways:
#1. TAKE ACTION
Click Here to Email the 4 Groups and let your voice be heard now. Contact someone you know as well as everyone on this list!
Let them know that you stand with NC Farmers and the Raleigh State Farmers Market.
#2. SIGN THE PETITION NOW AT:
Sign Petition Now Over 23,000 signatures so far + over 650 written signatures! Its changing so fast please check the number under the submit button for current count. Thank you so much everyone for your support!
Please send your suggestions to The Committee to Save the Raleigh State Farmers Market, [email protected]