Our editorial proposing a permanent home for the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market in the Ephesus-Fordham development district ( nando.com/na) generated several comments online and on my Facebook page. We said:
“The discussion surrounding form-based code and the rezoning of the Ephesus-Fordham district has been divisive and raised concern among many that Chapel Hill is selling out its sense of place and values to cash in on the development wave.
“The Town Council can begin to restore those community members’ trust with a commitment to finding a permanent home in the district for the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market, which now operates on a year-to-lease in the University Mall parking lot.”
Here’s what some of you said:
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Linda Carol Davis: Thank you for writing about (this). The market has made a lot of progress and continues to attract more residents who are choosing nutritious, locally grown food. ... The Carrboro Farmers market is more than a few minutes. Many residents of Chapel Hill do not frequent the Carrboro market because it is not convenient, especially on Wednesday when many people are working. I have been to the Chapel Hill market during the summer and I see that the farmers are extremely hot from having their spaces on hot asphalt. They need a place that is more comfortable and deserve it! Providing a home for the farmers market would be a vote for sustainability - something our town seems to have abandoned!
Michael Czeiszperger: It seems kind of silly to not count the Carrboro Farmer’s Market when it’s a minute’s drive from Chapel Hill and has a fantastic permanent venue. How many permanent farmers markets do we need?
D.C. Willis: Great column, highlighting not only the need for a permanent location, but the larger need and desire for human-friendly green space, gathering space, and an attractive shopping environment. Since I live in the Ephesus-Fordham “district,” and participated in all of the so-called citizen planning opportunities only to see our hopes dashed last May, I will once again add my voice to the many who would love to see a permanent location for the CH Farmers' Market (which, by the way, is over 5 miles from the Carrboro Farmers' Market). It's too bad that we have to fight for a decent location for our fresh produce and sustainable meat/poultry suppliers, who have gotten shuttled around the mall grounds because of convenience for --- whom? I sincerely hope that our Council people will reconsider the damage they have wrought upon our Ephesus-Fordham district and fix all of the many parts of the form based code that are not presently conducive to what the citizens asked for --- affordable housing, energy efficiency, attractive buildings, transportation, bikeways and pedestrian-friendly passages, and control of flood waters. Those of us in the Ephesus-Fordham area would welcome a permanent home for our farmers' market!
Mark Zimmerman: We do need a place for our farmer's market to plant roots and thrive. For the right development, it could bring focus and traffic (the good kind). Plenty of opportunity in the broad swath of Ephesus Fordham to find a home over time. It would also be worth trying to find a way to wedge it into downtown.
Gabriele Pelli: More Farmers Markets everywhere!
Mark Schultz is the editor of The Chapel Hill News. Friend him on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @chapelhillnews1.