A woman driving by a Safeway store in Kirkland, Washington, spotted a big banner in front of the store announcing a farmer's market that weekend, so she stopped to get more details. The manager explained that Safeway employees were going to be setting up tents and selling Safeway produce, farmer's market-style, in front of the store. That sent up red flags for Martha Tyler, who organizes a real farmer's market in Redmond, Washington. Tyler immediately alerted local farmers market associations to Safeway's plot to cash in on people's attraction for farmers markets, and a protest ensued. The Washington State Farmers Market Association sent Safeway a letter pointing out that state law defines farmers' markets as including five or more growers selling directly to consumers, and explaining that the intent of a farmers market is to foster closer connections between local farmers and their customers. Safeway responded by offering to drop the term "farmers market" and instead call it something like a "weekend outdoor market." Advocates were pleased with the change, but still wish big grocery retailers like Safeway would buy more of their produce from local farmers, instead of merely trying to impersonate farmers markets.
By Anne Landman on July 04, 2010