VAAC to Farmers Market: No Deal

Last night, three of the five Vermillion Area Farmers Market Board members attended the VAAC Board meeting to sort out whether or not the Farmers Market would be granted a lease for this season.

The Farmers Market Board had asked me, as president/spokeswoman, to see if we could renegotiate with the current Arts Council Board now that the accommodations didn’t seem to be a factor (see my earlier post–Farmers Market denied lease at the VAAC).

But, despite our earlier rejection letter by the previous VAAC Board which cited the VAAC’s “regrettable” inability to offer the  same accommodations as in the past years, I was told yesterday by a current Board member that the real reason the farmers market lease was rejected was personal rancor against me.

This rancor carried through into last night’s decision.  I had been asked whether or not the Farmers Market lease should even be on the agenda, since it wouldn’t pass.  The reason it wouldn’t pass: the old board and their cronies are still really mad at me for asking them to step down, and they were applying immense pressure on the current board (which they hand-picked to replace them in a private meeting–see my earlier post) to reject us as well.

I said that I preferred it be on the agenda so that if there were personal issues with me–they could be aired openly and honestly (kind of like I’ve tried to voice my own gripes openly and honestly) instead of this grade school business of “we don’t like her, and we won’t like you if you work with her, either.”

But, apparently, those past board members felt comfortable enough that the new board they picked would do their bidding–none of them showed up last night.  At the previous week’s meeting, they did show up, but waited until after I and the other market board members had left to voice their disapproval that the current board would negotiate with us (me) at all.

But, the market was on the agenda last night, so at least the real reason for the rejection of the Farmers Market lease (me being involved) was made publicly–which is a nice change of pace from all the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that has been going on.

Between last night’s discussion, and the calls for me to step down as the “face” of the community garden, it is ironic that just last week I was told by a VAAC board member that it would not be appropriate for the VAAC to take an official position against working with any particular person.

That seems to be exactly what happened last night.

In a way–it’s a start.  A number of VAAC members, including myself, have been calling for more open and honest communication.  While rejecting projects and partnerships because of who’s involved with them isn’t a great precedent to set, at least this board was honest about their decision-making instead of masking it behind “regrettable” circumstances.


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