Part 3: Discord in the community – better strategies needed?
By Tim J. Clark
Updated Nov 5, 2019
Background: An ongoing assessment of the issues with the Bloomington Farmers’ Market.
- Part 1 Discord in the community – better strategies needed?
- Part 2 – Discord in the community – better strategies needed?
Last year for the Bloomington Farmers’ Market?
The situation with the market does raise a question: Are the policies and actions regarding protests creating and supporting the conditions that will lead to a justification to permanently close the market? The protestors are currently targeting a specific vendor – Schooner Creek Farm, and the city claims that given the constraints of the First Amendment, they are powerless to stop it.
Regarding the protestors allegations that the vendor is a white supremacist, Laura Lane of the Herald-Times in her August 3, 2019 Commentary: Don’t forget the First Amendment, stated the following:
- The Herald-Times has published multiple articles on the farmers’ market developments. We have done our own research. We have reviewed court documents, emails, videos and recordings that so many claim is proof that the owners of Schooner Creek Farm are white supremacists. Direct evidence, it isn’t there.
- When a news organization publishes a false statement that damages a person’s reputation, that’s libel. I make sure, just about every day, to not libel anyone. Not just because I could be sued, but because it’s important that the information we report be accurate. We cannot and do not print accusations that can’t backed up with tangible stand-up-in-court proof.
The city’s current policies on protests and lack of enforcement of “rules” introduces a significant change. In effect, the Market can now be “A” space for protests and future counter-protests that could include topics on a variety of social, cultural, or political issues.
The scope of the new protests could include identifying vendors that may have any personal views, associations, or positions that others may find objectionable.
Given the privately managed Bloomington Winter Farmers’ Market and the 2020 elections, there is plenty of time over the next few weeks and months for groups to start their research and strategize. For example, advocates of the Second Amendment through demonstration of concealed carry would help demonstrate gun safety and promote local and national candidates in 2020 that support the Second Amendment.
Vendors may need to develop a Plan B in case protests lead to shutdowns of the markets and/or protests continue to discourage attendance and sales. Alternative private markets may not be immune from boycotts. How will any private market stop protestors? What will be their rules and enforcement mechanisms? Will more security and police be needed? What effect will protests have on attendance and sales at these private markets?
It is also interesting that the protests are leading to employment opportunities for the organizers such as Abby Ang, who want to be compensated for their activism.