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City Shuts Down Farmers' Market Over Security Threats From White Nationalists

A woman in a sundress, arms holding up a sign, speaking to a female police  officer, with a male cop and a male market vendor visible behind her.

A peaceful protestor refused to move from her position in front of Schooner Creek Farm's produce stand. Her sign identified the farmers as white supremacists. She was arrested, but official charges were not filed against her. (Courtesy of Dina Okamoto)

The city of Bloomington Indiana has shut down its flagship farmers market for two weeks due to increasing tensions about the presence of vendors with ties to a white supremacist group.

Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton held a press conference Wednesday to address the decision to shut down the market.

"Two days ago, our public safety officers reported to me identifying threats of specific individuals with connections to past white nationalist violence," Mayor Hamilton stated.

Last Saturday, Bloomington police arrested a protestor standing next to the vendors’ booth. She was holding a sign stating that the vendors were part of “Identity Europa, a white nationalist hate group.”

Also present at the vendors’ stall were several armed men who identified themselves as members of Indiana Three Percent, a group dedicated to protest and armed resistance against attempts to curtail constitutional rights. Indiana state law permits guns in most public venues.

The City hopes to institute increased safety measures at the market, allowing it to reopen on August 17th. 

An alternative venue for market vendors will take place this Saturday, August 3, 2019. Location: 3220 E 3rd Street in the parking lot adjacent to Bloomingfoods East from 8am to 1pm. Nearly 50 vendors will be on site.

Farm to Family Fund is raising money and partnering with Hoosier Hills Food Bank for a Farmer Appreciation Project. The fund will be used to purchase excess food from farmers, at half price, to donate to the food bank for distribution to local pantries. 

No Space for Hate has a gofundme page to raise funds to assist some market vendors experiencing losses due to the two-week closure. The funds will be used to purchase produce from vendors, and the food will be donated to Shalom Community Center and the Community Kitchen.

The Herald-Times posted this list of alternate markets around town:

Saturday market locations
  • Kmart parking lot on East Third Street, 8am-1pm
  • Bloomington Bagel Co. on Dunn Street
  • Kilroy’s Sports Bar on North Walnut Street
  • First Christian Church at corner of Washington Street and Kirkwood Avenue
  • Gravel Lot between Maple and Fairview Streets
  • The Venue on Grant Street
  • Downtown CVS parking lot on Kirkwood Avenue
  • First United Methodist Church at corner of Fourth and Washington streets
  • Spencer/Owen County Farmers Market on West Morgan Street in Spencer
  • Pronounce Skin Care & Herbal Boutique on North Morton Street
  • Brown County Farmers’ Market at Nashville’s Foxfire Park
  • C3 Bar and Grille on Piazza Drive
  • Wilderlove Farm at 5735 W. Duvall Road will sell produce directly from a stand at their farm
  • Smithville Farmers Market on Strain Ridge Road, at the Smithville Park shelter house, next to Redman Hall
Midweek markets
  • The city’s Tuesday Market is every week at Sixth and Madison streets from 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Bloomingfoods on East Third Street hosts a farmers’ market in the parking lot there every Wednesday from 7 a.m. until noon.
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