Paul Cherulnik: Northampton should not subsidize farmers markets

Thursday, January 16, 2014
To the editor:

I presume that the people who manage farmers markets and the people who sell food there make money from their efforts. And I presume that the people who sell locally grown food to stores and restaurants and those who own those businesses make money as well.

If those presumptions are correct, I don’t understand why it is being proposed that the city of Northampton donate valuable land and provide facilities for all of those people to enhance their business interests. If they are incorrect, perhaps all of those business owners should consider another line of work. And the city should most certainly not spend tax dollars to promote the sale of the most expensive food to those most able to afford it, especially since most of the business owners involved and many of their customers don’t actually live in Northampton.

If philanthropy is the objective, all of those involved, public and private, might consider directing their efforts toward feeding the poor and hungry among us who, despite the best efforts of food banks and survival centers, subsist on insufficient diets. A farmers market may be a lot of wonderful things, but it’s no place to stretch your food dollars.

Paul Cherulnik