ASHLAND, Ore. — The Ashland Planning Commission wants to ban the sale of certain foods and crafts the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market. This comes after some nearby business owners said the booths there now, are taking their customer base.
The Ashland planning commission is also extending the months the market is open.
Some businesses downtown Ashland are signing a petition to support the farmers market and keep it the way it is right now, while other local businesses said they want to see change.
For vendor Bill Francis, the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is a way of life and the way he makes a living.
“This point in the year, this becomes really close to 80 percent of our income,” said Francis.
He sells hand-made ceramics, an item that could soon be prohibited, but in the same booth his friend is selling wooden utensils, an item that would be allowed to stay.
The Commission is deliberating over placing regulations on what would be allowed to be sold at the farmers market, and although there are still lots of unanswered questions, it is looks like the items that can continue to be sold will have to be sourced agriculturally in the valley.
Other items including jewelry, pottery, and wood crafts that rival local business would have to have a local tie to stay. The Commission is also looking into banning warm prepared food.
This comes after storefronts near the markets complained about vendors stealing their business.
“The issue here is that there are stores on the block that are being closed off by the market currently and there business is being hurt,” said Ken Silverman, the owner of Nimbus.
For Silverman, whose business is just down the street from the Saturday market, it’s a complicated issue. He said while he is not impacted, he feels for the businesses who are, and hopes an agreement can be reached to satisfy everyone. He said he frequents the farmers markets in the area and does not want to see them go.
“I would love if they could find a field or a parking lot right near town that people could walk to,” said Silverman.
The Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market is holding a meeting Thursday June 19 to figure out how to handle the proposed food and craft regulations.
The new rules would go into place at the end of July if the Commission finalizes the changes and no appeals are made.