Hopefully the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association and the City of Santa Barbara will respond to the disturbing problems raised by the antitrust lawsuit filed by excluded local food producers, even though it has now been dropped. There are real concerns that need to be addressed, and Jeff Hendrickson and John de Bruin have offered an excellent solution: The City of Santa Barbara (and its citizens) need to be represented on the Farmers Market board, to balance out the self-interest of the majority of board members who live outside the county and do not have locals’ welfare at heart. This seems a fair exchange considering that the city and citizens of Santa Barbara provide the use of city property for the Farmers Markets. I hope that Mayor Schneider and the City Council will also consider requesting that more local growers be added to the Farmers Market board.
Santa Barbarans are being urged to buy our food at the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association markets, and we do so thinking we’re supporting fresh, local food and local growers. It’s kind of a fraud on local citizens that so much of the food and many of the growers come from elsewhere, taking our money but not building our local economy and food security systems.