BLACKSBURG - A new zoning ordinance for farmers markets passes the planning commission in Blacksburg, and is now headed to town council for evaluation. The ordinance as it stands now includes several points that have stirred controversy among consumers, including a requirement that all farmers market products come from within a 50-mile radius of Blacksburg, and also that only the farmer who grew the food, or the farmers' family or employee, can sell the product at a market.
April DeMotts, a regular farmers market consumer, says, "They're trying to pass a town code that dictates how a farmers market can operate and what they can sell, not just safety provisions, things like safety and access, so a lot of the concerns from the consumers and the farmers themselves were that the bylaws of a farmers market should dictate those types of behaviors."
Some on the other side of this say that these provisions encourage economic growth and competition between markets, and this also ensures they will meet consumers' expectations of what a farmers market should be. The town council will address the ordinance in several work sessions, then hold a public hearing on May 13th.