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Vendor Rethinking Business Model After Market Controversy

east side farmers market

Primally Inspired Eats sells gluten-free bread at the East Side Farmers' Market. (Tyler Lake, WTIU/WFIU News)

A handful of vendors are selling fresh baked bread, vegetables and soaps in the parking lot at Bloomingfoods East. They’re calling it the East Side Farmers’ Market.

A group started the alternative market after controversy over Bloomington’s city-run market and allegations that the owners of Schooner Creek Farms, a vendor at that market, has ties to a white supremacist group.

Brandi Williams of Primally Inspired Eats says the alternative market is about a sense of community rather than merely reacting to the controversy at the city market. And she says she stands in solidarity with vendors at that market.

"Definitely not a divisive move, just felt it imperative to also hold space for those who aren’t comfortable at the city market right now," says Williams. 

Williams says the controversy at the city market made her realize she may have grown complacent and it spurred her to do more for the community. 

READ MORE: Bloomington Farmers' Market Controversy: What's Happened So Far

"I don’t want to just be asking the city or the mayor or the market staff what are they are going to do for me, or what are they going to do for this community," says Williams. "I started asking myself what am I going to do." 

Williams already works with Middle Way House to sell a gluten-free Food Works inspired loaf and some of the proceeds from those sales go back to Middle Way House.

Now she’s started a gofundme page to help find a permanent space in which to bake bread, but also to create opportunities for apprentice bakers and to help other entrepreneurs navigate the waters when starting a new enterprise.

She says the controversy and the events at the farmers’ market have made her rethink her business model entirely. 

As to whether she would ever go back to the city’s farmers’ market?

"I don’t know if we will return to the city market, I honestly don’t have an answer for that right now, I know that we won’t be returning this season," says Williams. 

She says she plans on being at the East Side Farmers’ Market again next weekend.

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