Bossier City Farmers Market was scheduled to open this Saturday March 28 at Pierre Bossier Mall. After much discussions with vendors, volunteers, local officials, and more, organizers decided to postpone the event until April 18th.
Organizers of the Bossier City Farmers Market did have authorization to originally open the Market on March 28th from the Governor’s office, State Senators, Congressman, Department of Homeland Security, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture.
Listed below is the entire Facebook post the Bossier City Farmers Market posted on it’s Facebook page.
Good afternoon to all our wonderful shoppers, vendors, and supporters! We sincerely hope that each and every one of you are doing well during these trying times. Many Farmers Markets in Louisiana and across the entire county are open right now. You may not be aware of this, but Farmers Markets and food supply stores are exempt from the recent crowd limits and shut down orders issued by the Governor, as long as they practice hand sanitation and have a social distancing program in place. We personally reached out thru emails and phone calls to our Governor’s office, State Senators, Congressman, Department of Homeland Security, and to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture to obtain this information/confirmation. We are super excited to have their personal written support, as well as it being clearly stated on almost every government and state webpage available to the public right now. As a matter of fact after our thorough inquiries, we were informed that our specific concerns about Farmers Markets during these times actually made it to the White House and was a debate topic on the House and Senate floors while they were discussing the recent proposed stimulus bill.
Why are we telling you all this? Because we want you to know that we have you and our farmers/vendors best interest in mind with everything we do. We have been working tirelessly over the last 2 weeks considering options, implementing them, and purchasing safety supplies and equipment to ensure that you have the safest market experience possible. These efforts include vendors setting up further apart, wider walkways, public hand washing stations, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for our vendors and patrons, safety guideline signage, and limiting the number of shoppers in certain areas. All while being in an outdoor, open air, UV light rich environment with plenty of fresh air. We would also postpone live entertainment, kids activities, and remove customer seating to ensure fewer people congregated at the market. All food would be served in sealed take home containers and packaged to be eaten off site. Our only goal is to provide a better and safer food options to the big box stores. Keep in mind that Farmers Market produce has been touched by fewer people, so it helps limits the spread of disease that way also.
Our market supports 100’s of small businesses and nonprofits throughout the year, and we have an obligation to try to open even under the most difficult of circumstances including rain, wind, heat, and cold. We don’t have huge sponsors, were not city or government funded, and we don’t receive any donations or grants. We are a locally owned small business. Sometimes we don’t even have enough paying vendors set up to cover our weekly lease amount. Yes, we lease our space also, and we do sometimes operate at a loss to bring you the market on some days just to support the farmers, growers, and vendors who want to try to make a living and fed their families for another week. We also want locals to have a place to get their fresh fruits and vegetables, canned items, honey, meat, dairy, eggs, breads, etc. To the public, we may just be several tents and a few food trucks set up in a mall parking lot. But behind the scenes we have to obtain and pay for several annual permits, submit operational blueprints, pay for tax bonds, obtain liability insurance, pay annual and monthly fees to several agencies, pay for websites, advertising, marketing, and so much more.
This is why when you hear people say “support local” it’s so important. It has a trickle effect on the local economy. But when you support local by shopping at a Farmers Market you are supporting dozens of small business at the same time! For example lets say you get $100 worth of items at the market. That money (after sales tax) goes directly to those families who grew or made that product. They then go purchase more supplies locally for next week’s market and hopefully have something left over to feed their families with some of the money. Many of the vendors get their supplies at the market also. Many of the jams, jellies, salsa, canned goods, pickles, and more is made using ingredients found at the market weekly.
With all that being said, it is with a heavy heart that we are announcing that we will be postponing the opening day of the Bossier City Farmers Market 2020 season until after the threat of the Corona Virus in Louisiana has begun to subside. We don’t make this decision lightly and it was the result of several discussions with many of our vendors, volunteers, local officials, and more. We know that we have a lot of local shoppers and vendors who will be affected by this, but we feel it is in the best interest if we wait a little longer to open for the season. Look for updates on our Facebook pages between now and then, but we will tentatively plan to re-open on Saturday 4/18/20.
Sincerely, Bossier City Farmers Market www.BossierCityFarmersMarket.com