The city of Little Rock's budget woes are well-known. Dozens of staff positions are empty. The quality of code enforcement has long been suspect, sufficient money or no sufficient money.
But some priorities are not overlooked.
Like shutting down a West Little Rock farmers market as it opened for business Monday at Pulaski Academy, according to the GreenARbythe day blog. There will be no sales of vegetables without the requisite permits. If you want to sell vegetables, the city will be happy to accommodate you in its River Market, of course.
UPDATE: An inquiry of mine to GreenAR brought some more background on the farmer crackdown from blogger Nao Ueda:
Just to recap, Pulaski Academy invited farmers to set up at school several weeks ago. Farmers (Josh Hardin with Hardin Farms, Eddie Stuckey with Kellog Valley Farms, Kelly Carney with North Pulaski Farms, and Sam McCumpsey with The Garden at Becky Lane) hauled $1,000-2,000 worth of produce to PA on Monday afternoon. When they got there, they were met with a city code enforcement officer. The officer informed them that they're in violation of zoning laws, and that they don't have a peddler's license. Farmers asked to be allowed to sell what they hauled, but they were told that if they sell a single item, they would be fined $1,000. So, they went home.
I talked to one of the farmers. Apparently, someone complained to the City about the farmers. The farmer that I talked to thinks the complaint may have come from one of the true peddlers who have set up a shop on Pebble Beach.
I had one of the LR Sustainability Commission members contact Bryan Day. Here's his response:
From: "Day, Bryan"
Date: June 22, 2010 7:18:48 AM PDT
Subject: RE: Farm mkt
I talked with staff and you are correct, we did direct a farmer to move from that location. The gentleman was a single vendor set up on a property where peddling is not allowed. He can set up on any C-3, C-4 or UU zoned parcel as long as he has a peddler’s license. Apparently he did not have a license or permit. The location at Pulaski Academy does not allow that particular use. We will be glad to work with him if he will give us a call.
PA is 100% behind farmers. It even offered to let farmers set up in its air-conditioned gym. The issue is that Pulaski Academy needs variance to its zoning codes for these farmers to be able to set up. It normally takes about a month for the City to issue variance.
What I find ironic is that I'm sure PA sells unhealthy processed food through vending machines and school cafeteria. When the school tries to engage in farm-to-school program and offer healthier alternatives, the city cracks them down.
This is the latest in anti-green moves that the City has made while Mayor Stodola goes on about how he wants to be sustainable.