Allow Joshua Tree to continue to have a full Farmer's Market
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The beautiful village of Joshua Tree has had a farmers market for over 12 years now providing the community with essentials and the three million-plus visitors to the park with a wide array of locally produced products.
As of September 30th, San Bernardino County issued a notice to Lori Herbel, the market founder that no more than 12 booths would be allowed, meaning that going forward only produce will be available. Lori has spent a week petitioning the county to continue to allow the 35 current vendors to be able to attend while revisions are made to the permit allowing the additional space. An anonymous source has indicated that a local lodged the "serious complaint" alleging that the farmers market causes "parking and traffic" issues after approaching Lori expressing intent to have booths near the farmers market and not wanting the farmers market in the way of their booths or their need for parking. The county has said that a traffic study would need to be conducted and that the market would need to have a police officer direct traffic.
If there are any "parking and traffic" issues in Joshua Tree they are caused by the 3 million people visiting our beautiful National Park, NOT our farmers market. The legwork, fees and additional work associated with permitting the farmers market have not been insubstantial and more than cover the only intervention necessary by the county - sending out a health inspector to inspect the food vendors' booths.
Our farmers market should not be the target of additional scrutiny, fees, or burden, or impeded in any way because millions of people want to enjoy the wonders of our park or because a local business decides to file a complaint alleging that farmers market is causing issues in Joshua Tree. The farmers market provides essentials to our community and supports countless families that depend on it for their livelihoods. We have the massive disparity of having three million visitors to the area and the economic boost they provide to local businesses and the fact that we also have an 80% welfare rate with very few local jobs available to the 8,000+ local residents.
We as a community need to stand and make our voices heard. To whomever filed the complaint, please take responsibility and prove to the community that you have the community's best interest at heart and not just your own. Retract your complaint and help us to petition to allow the farmer's market to continue to function as it has for 12 years in the best interest of the community and the families of 35 vendors that depend on it for their livelihoods.
To the community, please sign this petition, share this petition and do everything you can to contact the county and in general, help in any way possible to prevent this outrageous and heartbreaking change to our farmers market. The county is paid by the people and should be for the people. We can not stand by while a staple of our community is destroyed. The county has threatened code enforcement actions and to fine the property owners that have allowed the market its success all these years. Lori Herbel has repeatedly pleaded for time to take necessary actions including revising permits and the pleas have fallen on deaf ears. We the residents of Joshua Tree (myself as a lifelong resident) should have our voices and logic heard in petitioning for the market to remain open and fully functioning as it has for 12 years. Tourism has grown from 1.3 million visitors in 2009 to over 3 million as of 2018. If there are any traffic or parking issues, it is a result of the popularity of our National Park and not the farmer's market.
San Bernardino County, please allow our farmers market to continue operating as it has successfully and without issue for the last 12 years. If revisions to the current permits need to be made, allow time to make those revisions without crippling our beloved community resource and leaving countless families with no means of supporting themselves, robbing the community of a desperately needed source of jobs and resources.
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