I have been forwarded an e-mail from the person in charge of the Winter Farmers Market. I will be attending and I will post it here for anyone who is interested:
Dear friends (this is a long email, but please read all the way through – it’s important),
Thanks to those who have sent letters of support. However, the ante has been raised and
the Indy Winter Farmers Market needs your support at the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission meeting tonight.
Despite the overwhelming support of the Chatham Arch Neighborhood Association in a vote of membership last Tuesday, one individual resident continues to fight everything that happens with the development of the Chatham Center. This matter is of too great importance to the market and community for one individual to keep the market from happening in this specific location.
We have been working tirelessly for the several weeks to ensure the market can locate to Chatham Arch from Nov. 14th through April 24th, on Saturdays for a period of only 5 hours. We have gone door to door talking to Chatham Arch neighbors and business owners to explain the goals and mission of the market. OVERWHELMING we have been received with graciousness, excitement, and gratitude for bringing the services of this valuable community event into the heart of Indianapolis’ historic neighborhoods.
Why have we been working so hard on this location? Quite simply because we want to create the most welcoming winter market possible, a market that attracts the very best farmers and vendors, and a place that folks look forward to visiting and shopping each week. To that extent, we believe that the physical space of the market is a critically important factor. According to you – our patrons and our vendors – the market should be in a residential area, without being in the center of residential streets. It needs to be on a frequently traveled road that is easy to find without being on road that feels like an inner-city highway. The space needs to be well-lit with lots of windows and natural light, to make the market experience as good as possible for farmers and shoppers and to be highly visible to attract new shoppers into the market. The entry should be direct from the street so that it is accessible to all people, and so that there is no confusion as to the location of the market. And the market should have easy and plentiful parking.
Although we were generously offered and did consider roughly a dozen possible locations, Chatham Center was the only location that met all these criteria. Thus, we determined that this space was the optimal location for the 2009-2010 market season. In addition, IWFM has strong support in the building’s owner Larry Jones (who also owns the building used last year), a weekly shopper at IWFM.
IWFM is not set up as a non-profit entity (frankly there has not been the time or money to do so), but I assure you, profit is the last thing driving this project for the IWFM organizers. We set up the market because we saw a need for better local food access downtown, and we heard people wondering where they would go for local food in town when the summer markets ended. The IWFM quickly became an effort about building community around local food and the producers of this food. Last year the IWFM helped support nearly forty families through the winter who were our farmers and vendors. This year the IWFM will support nearly fifty.
Additionally, we have been working closely with Indianapolis Downtown Inc. and the Mass Ave. Merchants Association so that IWFM becomes not only a tool for building our local food community but also a tool for promoting downtown Indianapolis and the locally-owned businesses that operate there.
In closing, the market is truly a community event, thus we need your help tonight. PLEASE
attend the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC) hearing and ask them first to hear our case and second to vote to approve the temporary variance modification for the IWFM to operate at 901 N. East St
The hearing details are as follows:
Wednesday (TONIGHT), October 7th, 5:30 pm
Location: City-County Building
Public Assembly Room, 2nd floor, 200 E. Washington Street
Please know, the market will happen but having to move location will only take time and energy away from building the best market possible
We sincerely hope to see you tonight.