Occupy Wall Street Forces Farmers' Market Out of Zuccotti Park

photo1 Occupy Wall Street Forces Farmers' Market Out of Zuccotti ParkEvery Tuesday, Zuccotti Park has a Farmer’s Market. They recently picked up some new scenery: the protesters of Occupy Wall Street. And how did what many have characterized as a “leftist” and “hippie” movement affect the sales of their neighboring greenmarket, stocked with local produce from the neighboring region?

As The Observer reported a little under three weeks ago, not at all. As it turned out, the protesters were shunning the produce in favor of the foods—products of corporate-owned, publicly traded companies—being shipped to them by donors to their cause.

Well, as WNYC now reports, the farmer’s market is moving locations explicitly because of the protests. They cite foot traffic and set-up/shut-down problems among those which eventually started to hurt their ability to sell their produce, which eventually resulted in fiscal trouble:

Despite a marked increase in foot traffic, vendors who work at the market said that sales had fallen as much as 25 percent during the past two weeks.

They also feared becoming caught in a clash between protesters and police:

Peter Schulick, who is the general manager of Red Jacket Orchards, which also sells its produce at the Zuccotti Park Greenmarket, said he was wary about setting up shop in Zuccotti Park, especially since the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties, has vowed to clean the park with support from the New York Police Department, and a clash between protesters and the police seemed imminent. “I did not want to get caught in the crossfire,” Schulick said.

As WNYC reports, the market has moved to West Broadway between Barclay and Park Place, six blocks from Zuccotti Park, and will continue to operate on Tuesdays.

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek

Comments

  1. Disappointed farmer says:

    I am a Greenmarket farmer, though I do not sell at the park mentioned in this article.

    I think that it is shameful, in a year that has experiences tremendous flooding, and now an early frost, that because of what I have seen with my own eyes as (at least in that park) to be a contingent of malcontents, that many of my fellow farmers will miss the small window they have to sell their produce.  Fresh lettuce does not store, and what is not sold is either donated or spoils, but in either case, the farmer does not even recoup her/his costs, and has no hope of producing more product until next year.  Yet, the bills continue to pile up throughout the winter.

    There is a lot more to say, but, the self-appointed representatives of the 99% had the opportunity to make room for the market, which would have demonstrated that the walk the walk, but instead, in essence forced the farmers out.  They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    Bravo to Fotser Kamer for writing this piece.  I wish this situation was better known.

    1. Posvibemerchnt says:

      Interesting that this disappointed farmers post is less than an hour old and is the only comment, however my comment from over 12 hours ago, which come up with “comment will be posted after moderated” message popped up has still not seen the light of day when all i did was post this following quote…

      “Pasang Nepali, a saleswoman for Meredith’s Breads, said the protest and
      the enhanced police presence made it difficult to get produce and
      products into Zuccotti Park.

      “It’s very difficult in [the]
      morning when we load the truck,” she said. “We have to move all of the
      stuff from long away. So evenings, we have to pack up early because of
      the protest.”

      Thousands of pounds of food have been off-loaded each week on the south
      side of Zuccotti Park on Cedar Street. But police barricades, press vans
      and the protest encampment have made setting up the market there
      “operationally challenging,” according to Michael Hurwitz, the director
      of New York City’s greenmarkets program, which is part of GrowNYC. ”

      according to the people who organize and run this farmers market, the police and media are just as big a problem in maneuvering around the park and the loading zones. To go ahead and blame protestors for these farmers woes is just another excuse to complain. It’s a protest, if you don’t like it then move.. oh wait… YOU DID. so get over it. These protests are to better YOUR life. If you some how believe farming is removed from the Occupy protests then i guess you didn’t know occupy St. Louis went ahead to monsanto and protested (and if you have some question as to why monsanto is even an issue than you clearly have never farmed). These protests are about helping everyone who is not being protected under the laws we are all governed by. The reason that Wall St. and Corporations are the target is because they are the only ones being treated like people when it comes to rights, and they aren’t a “person” they’re a conglomerate, a coporation, governed by their own sets of laws and regulations to avoid monopolizing and bleeding the government and the tax payers with incentives and bailouts, but for the past decades have increasingly been getting special treatment.

      1. Tom Hughes says:

        So… because the protesters claim to be benefiting me, they are allowed to make my life worse? And I am not allowed a choice in that matter? I thought this was about democracy, but it sounds like you are saying something quite different: that you know best, and your victims just have to stay quiet. That sounds like… Dick Cheney!

      2. Matt Bulger says:

        so i suppose when a hurricane hits and you can’t do your famers market that we should lay shame on the weather, or in the winter months when crops dont grow we should also do such. People may not be the weather but these protests are just like it, the winds of change come and move people in a way that is both legal and necessary. You have a city permitted legal right to be in the park for your farmers market and the protesters have a constitutional right to be there to protest, so quit whining. Also the article is misleading in who it’s trying to lay blame on when the people who work the farmers market themselves have blamed everyone involved including the police and the press.

  2. NC rural farmer says:

    definitely sounds like they decided to move locations, which is quite different from being forced. i also think it’s silly to question why people protesting economic hardship and inequality would choose to eat free donated food over food they would have to pay for. as a poor farmer who has participated in this movement, i certainly don’t expect everyone to immediately start buying my produce – even though that would obviously benefit me – simply because we get plenty of food donated. it’s not rocket science, people.
    and in any case, one point of the movement is that it’s consensus based. that means if you have an issue you can actually work to alleviate it right there on the spot. so, tom hughes, it just so happens you really do have a choice in the matter! as a farmer, i understand that y’all are busy, but guess what, if you’re worried about a 25% drop in sales, you could probably make up for it by partnering with the encampment instead of complaining about the folks who the world sees as bringing much needed change.
    in any case, check out Occupy the Food System!