City yanks Roots in the City farmers’ market

By | March 30th, 2011 | 10 Comments

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado (center) soaked up the good will at the Roots in the City ribbon-cutting ceremony. Where is he now?

Back in December, I wrote about the launch of the Roots in the City farmers’ market in Overtown. Run by local farmers and backed by Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, the market offered cheap, healthy produce to a community marooned in the middle of a food desert. (It also offered the sight of ubercute goat, Marguerite.)

I’m writing in the past tense today because the City of Miami, in its boundless stupidity, has reportedly forced the market out of business. Quoth the New Times:

[A] citation was issued to South Florida Smart Growth Land Trust, the owner of the land on the corner of N.W. Second Avenue and 10th Street where the market operates, for “illegal sale of fruits and merchandise from open stands and vacant lots” and for “failure to obtain a Class I special permit.”

This is not the first market the city has shut down. Last month, it shut down the Liberty City Farmers Market at the Belafonte Tacolcy Center for not having proper permits. The market was forced to relocate a few blocks away to the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, which is on county land.

The permit farmers markets need to obtain is the same type of permit the city said food trucks needed to hold their round-ups. Obtaining the permit costs $153.50 per event and organizations can only apply for two a year.

$153.50! The market probably didn’t net much more than that on an average day, especially since it accepted food stamps and even doubled their value. That fact alone should hammer home that the Roots in the City market was a sincere initiative meant to give a poor neighborhood access to healthful ingredients its residents can’t get in any other (remotely convenient) way. That the city would shut it down over a legal technicality is condemnable and further proof that Miami remains woefully far from joining the ranks of the world’s great cities, all of which accommodate, cultivate, and celebrate outdoor markets. Not Miami though. No, Miami brings down the hammer just a month before the market was to close for the season.

Supporters of the market scheduled a protest on the corner of N.W. Second Avenue and 10th Street in Overtown today at noon. Join ‘em if you can. Give a cheer if you pass by. All they want to do is feed people.

10 Comments on “City yanks Roots in the City farmers’ market”

  1. 1 Leah said at 1:54 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    This is just embarrassing. It’s almost as though the City active wants to discourage anything that brings community together.

  2. 2 Leah said at 1:56 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    Wow, that’s what happens when someone is talking to you when you’re trying to post a blog comment. What I meant to say was:

    This is just embarrassing. It’s almost as though the City wants to actively discourage anything that brings community together.

  3. 3 Jordan Melnick said at 2:03 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    Well said. Sad.

  4. 4 Jason S said at 3:27 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    Who said they don’t Leah? An empowered community stands up for itself. The last thing city or county government wants is active empowered citizenry, the couch potatoes rotting away on a steady diet of McDonalds who don’t know their own neighbors are far easier to bully and far less likely to vote. We scared them a few months ago at the polls, expect more of the anti-community actions in the near future.

  5. 5 Daus said at 5:39 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    I heard they are now not going to be shutdown. Apparently the story has changed a bit. Channel 4 will be covering it tonight at 6pm.

  6. 6 Gaia said at 7:29 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    We’ll be there next week. Come out and Support. Purchase cheap produce that’s local and organic. Take advantage of the fruit juice, plants and goat milk products.

  7. 7 Mandy said at 9:20 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    One step forward and THEN a million steps back.

  8. 8 Jordan Melnick said at 11:02 pm on March 30th, 2011:

    You can vote for Roots in the City to get a piece of a $20K pie at Obviously, it needs the infusion.

  9. 9 Leah said at 9:16 am on March 31st, 2011:

    Thanks for the link. You can vote once every day.

    @Jason: I don’t think it’s quite that conspiratorial. I don’t know that county officials necessarily WANT people to be fat and stupid. It’s just that they make more money that way. They extract more property taxes from McDonalds, etc. There’s no money to be extracted from a community garden that has (I imagine) very little profit margin.

    In the long term, we need more forward-thinking folks in our government who realize that these things–community gardens, livable communities, walkable/bike-friendly streets, etc.–are GOOD for business in the long term. Unfortunately, with the constant cycle of elections, the short-term always wins.

  10. 10 nick said at 12:35 pm on April 1st, 2011:


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