The Coventry Regional Farmers' Market has been cited as Connecticut’s BEST farmers’ market by Yankee Magazine, Boston Magazine and American Farmland Trust! New England Travel Magazine calls ours “Connecticut’s preeminent farmers’ market.” June through October, it’s the largest and most diverse farmers’ market in Connecticut.
The Coventry Regional Farmers Market is the largest hub of local commerce in the entire state of Connecticut drawing in over 65,000 visitors each season and infusing a minimum of $20,000 of local monies directly into local food and agriculture businesses each week.
According to a Hartford Courant article: Coventry Regional Farmers Market Still Faces Obstacles red tape with Planning & Zoning and with the State Traffic Commission are hindering the markets move from the Nathan Hale Homestead to a new location. This ridiculous political posturing is damaging the farmers' market despite thousands showing their support for the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
The issue is TIMING and COST.
The Coventry Regional Farmers' Market was the lucky recipient of the American Farmland Trust's GREAT BARN GIVE AWAY and was awarded an open air post-and-beam barn worth $80,000!
Sounds great, right?
Although Connecticut Landmarks, operators of the Nathan Hale Homestead, had given permission and encouragement for the market to enter the contest, after the win of this well-deserved award, Connecticut Landmarks sought to charge the farmers' market an annual rental fee for the barn. This and other proposed lease terms were well beyond what the farmers' market could afford, making it impossible to continue at Hale.
A supporter offered a spectacular piece of land for a new market location, but because plans drawn for the Planning & Zoning process include more than 200 parking spaces, the State of Connecticut State Traffic Commission will need to determine the impact of the market's relocation on highway traffic. This requires a $25,000 traffic study and an expected 6 months processing time before a permit for use can be obtained.
Both the timing and the costs of these setbacks is hindering the planning and implementation of the 2012 farmers’ market season. Winter Caplanson, executive director of the nonprofit that manages the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market said, “Caplanson said vendor applications for farmers would typically have been sent out already and would be due back in February. The market's committee would have already planned the summer's events and partnered with other organizations. None of that has been worked on yet for 2012.”
George Krivda, the legislative program manager at the Connecticut State Department of Agriculture, said the market is highly valued by his department. "It would be a horrible shame, unfathomable to the department that the Coventry Farmers Market would cease to exist," he said.
How can you help? SIGNING THIS PETITION:
· Adds your voice of support for the Coventry Regional Farmers Markets and the farmers, producers, and artisans that depend on this regional food hub for their incomes,
· Formally requests that all necessary permits, zoning approvals, traffic studies, and other safety precautions are expedited as quickly and as fairly as possible to ensure that planning for the 2012 Farmers Market season can proceed,
· Speaks on your behalf to let the State of Connecticut know how very valuable the Coventry Regional Farmers Market is to you and to our local food and agriculture movements.
To send additional letters of support, email: marketmasters@CoventryFarmersMarket.com