Consequence of farmers market closure: Extra $50 permit from county health department for alternate locations

Vendors who moved to a different location during the recent two-week suspension of Bloomington’s farmers market had to get a $50 temporary permit from the county health department.

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Susan Welsand, the Chile Woman, was exuberant on Saturday Aug. 3, 2019 at the alternate location for farmers market vendors behind the east-side Bloomingfoods in the former Kmart parking lot.  (Dave Askins/Beacon)

That was the news from Penny Caudill, the county’s health administrator, as delivered to Monroe County commissioners at their regular Wednesday morning meeting.

Permits from the health department for vending at a farmers market are issued to individual vendors not the market as a general site, Caudill told The Beacon.

Caudill said her department had reviewed whether it would be possible to waive the fee for the temporary event permits, which her department issued to the displaced vendors. It wasn’t possible, she said.

The seasonal permit that vendors get from the health department for their stalls at the City market are not transferable to other locations, Caudill said. The seasonal permit that vendors are issued for a full season at the market costs $150, according to Caudill.

Responding to Caudill’s update, commissioner Lee Jones said, “I hope that the City will consider reimbursing people for that expense, as well as all of the other expenses they have incurred.”

For the last two Saturdays, vendors and others in the community have bootstrapped alternate locations for Bloomington’s farmers market, after the City suspended the event for two weeks.

The general background for the temporary market closure was described this way in the City’s initial press release: “Since the recent public discussion of ties between a vendor at the market and white nationalist causes and groups, the City has identified increasing threats to public safety.”

The City of Bloomington announced Tuesday that the farmers market will re-open this Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019 at its usual time (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and city hall location.

Caudill told The Beacon her department inspects the farmers market vendors routinely, but not necessarily every week. The inspectors are officially known as “food sanitarians.”

By time of publication, Bloomington’s mayor’s office had not responded to an emailed query from The Beacon about the possible reimbursement of the health permit fees for temporary permits.