Bloomington, IN Farmers’ Market – Controversy – Summary

Bloomington, Indiana Farmers’ Market
Summary of Key Events
by Tim J. Clark

Background.  After nine years of participating in the Bloomington, Indiana Farmers Market, owners of Schooner Creek Farm (SCF) – a small family run business, are alleged to be white supremacists.  A petition was started to remove them from participating in the Market that is managed by the City of Bloomington, IN.  The controversy has received state and national media coverage.

Official Statement – Bloomington Farmers’ Market Market

The City’s response to the allegations:   “To our knowledge, this vendor has not shared these views at Market and has treated customers with respect,” said Marcia Veldman, program/facility coordinator for Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation Department.  The City is constitutionally prohibited from discriminating against someone because of their belief system, no matter how abhorrent those views may be. The City may only intercede if an individual’s actions violate the safety and human rights of others.”

 Allegations associated with the owners of Schooner Creek Farm

Aug 3, 2019. (Bloomington) Herald-Times  Commentary: Don’t forget the First Amendment, By Laura Lane

“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. ”

Aug 2, 2019. WFIU – Noon Edition  – Panel Discussion. Steve Sanders – Associate Professor – IU Maurer School of Law, WFIU Noon Addition, Panel Discussion, Follow-up Comments

In response to owners of SCF’s association with Identity Evropa:  “My point was that affiliations and linkages can be ambiguous and that it is irresponsible to use them to imply the worst possible meaning in the absence of proof of exactly what someone believes or seeks to accomplish. I’m a Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I automatically embrace what every leader of the party stands for.  So in short, there is good evidence Sarah Dye has done things to affiliate herself with white supremacist groups, but the meaning of that affiliation for her, and the exact nature and contours of her own beliefs and agenda are what remains unknown.”  

Allegations – American Identity Movement (AIM

In March 2019, Identity Evropa was disbanded and the American Identity Movement (AIM) was established.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claims  the American Identity Movement (AIM) is an alt-right white supremacist group. The Southern Poverty Law Center has made similar claims.

AIM disputes these allegations. “The American Identity Movement believes in effecting change peacefully and lawfully, and rejects political violence, extremism, and supremacism in all of its forms.”  Reference: AIM Website

Bloomington Winter Farmers Market – Dec 2019-March 2020

The Bloomington Winter Farmers Market is a project of the Center for Sustainable Living (CSL) a 501c3.  The Market leases a venue from the city and can choose to exclude (discriminate against) a vendor for their personal beliefs.  SCF has participated in the Winter Market for five years and is not allowed to participate in this years market.

  • The definition of bigotry is prejudice and the state of being intolerant. A bigot is a person who is prejudiced, or intolerant of those who are different. QUESTION: Does the Center for Sustainable Living consider bigotry to be sustainable?

Additional Information:  More detail on context, history, current events, media coverage, notes,  are available at the following post:   Wanted: Tolerance, Understanding, Collaboration, Progress

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