WESTON A. PRICE FOUNDATION
March 5, 2006
The Charlottesville, Virginia Farmers’ Market has told its produce vendors they must be “certified” by a County Extension Agent to sell at the market. This translates to vendors having to submit to an unwarranted search of their property by a government agent, in this case, one who is not a legally mandated inspection, certification, nor enforcement agent. Aside from unwarranted searches being unconstitutional, they are intimidating and oppressive and will drive away longtime vendors. John Coles, who has been selling his garden produce at the City Market for more than 20 years, was told by Stephanie Anderegg-Maloy, Market Manager, that he will not be allowed to sell at the market unless he submits to the inspection, which he refuses to do on principle.
Mike Svetz, Director of Parks and Recreation (that oversees the market) says this new policy is in response to complaints that certain vendors are “re-selling” (buying produce to re-sell at the market, rather than selling what they grow or produce themselves). Svetz insists the credibility of the market is at stake, yet also states that market revenues have doubled in the past few years, from $400,000 to $800,000 per year, hardly a sign that customers doubt the vendors.
Charlottesville Market rules and regulations already require that vendors sell only their own produce, and violation is a class 3 misdemeanor. Yet rather than the Market Manager investigating complaints on an individual basis, which she has the ability and authority to do, she and Svetz have decided everyone is guilty until proven innocent and chose instead this dragnet approach that will relieve them of the burden of investigating and enforcing individual violations.
The future of the Charlottesville market, farmers’ markets across the state, and our Fourth Amendment rights are at stake. Please contact the persons below and tell them to rescind this oppressive policy at once. The five City Council members (that includes the Mayor and Vice Mayor) oversee and advise Parks and Rec. and the Market.
Mike Svetz Director, Parks and Rec
svetz (at) charlottesville.org
Stephanie Anderegg-Maloy City Market Manager
maloy (at) charlottesville.org
David E. Brown Mayor
dbrown (at) gmail.com
Kevin Lynch Vice-mayor
klynch (at) cstone.net
Blake Caravati City Councilor
caravati (at) cstone.net
Kendra Hamilton City Councilor
Kendra (at) charlottesville.org
Rob Schilling City Councilor
schilling (at) charlottesville.org
For more information please contact John Coles or Christine Solem at (434) 973-6505