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  1. TopTop #61
    bret martin
    Guest

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    hi
    Hating on Paula or anyone is just hurtful and serves no purpose. Humans are magical and multi faceted indeed. I'm proud of Paula for earning so many loyal friends and helping out cancer patients with free food too. Im a colon cancer ileostomy chemo survivor and our baby just finished three years of chemo.I admire those who, like Paula, help those in great need. That being said, these admirable traits sadly don't make us qualified for jobs that require among other things a solid reputation free of damaging controversy.Even if I were to ignore all the hearsay, which is plentiful, I cannot deny the documented evidence that Paula is clearly not suited to run a farmers market at the Barlow. I am a firm believer in redemption and am keeping my heart open to all possibilities ..

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Dorothy Friberg: View Post
    I have a solution, we will now all shop at the Original Santa Rosa Farmer's Market at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday mornings. Lets give honest non-spiteful community-oriented Farmers their due, (our support). I personally think it unbecoming for Sebastopuddlers to be so mean and spiteful toward Paula Downing. Stop this UGLY WAR and get your priorities straight. I personally worked with Paula on many community events at her markets. As our Bennett Valley Senior Center was threatened with closure Paula let me set up a Save our Senior Center table weekly for over a month in her market. Paula herself was the most generous donor of cash among all who donated. We still love you Paula in spite of your being put in the crucible, and I kaow that you will come through this still a whole, generous, loving person. THANK YOU PAULA DOWNING for rising above the mudslingers and petty competition. Dorothy Friberg
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  3. TopTop #62
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Dian,

    Indeed, I just jumped on here a few days ago...why? Because Wacco is not really my thing, but the farming community in sonoma county is.... and yes, indeed, this thread was specifically brought to my attention as it was terribly one-sided ("All hail to Paula!") and did not include any perspective on negative experiences that so so many HAVE HAD. Perhaps, because like myself, Wacco isn't our usual platform or where I choose to casually spend my time. But this is not a casual matter now, is it? I am not a cohort of anybody's any more than I would assume you are (so please don't use name calling yourself when scolding others for "vitriol" and "shaming"). My guess is that Cinda probably doesn't spend much time on here either, but thought it worth the effort too, especially when what hangs in the balance is NOT Paula, or any middle-managment employee (because in reality, that is all we're talking about- a position- when Ms. Downing's name comes up), but OUR FARMERS!!!

    I (nor would I expect anyone else) would never take on your lovely story of how Paula helped your friend, a cancer victim. Nor will I (or expect anyone else to) take on the lovely story of the poor seniors faced with their center closing. These are both lovely stories, which I am sure are true and accurate. And indeed, having a negative account of someone who helps the old, sick, and dying, just doesn't seem right or fair. But what you, and others, are missing is that it is by no means predetermined that, if there was to be a market without Paula, that the farmers, community members, and another socially concerned, community focused, good-hearted manager, would not have done the same thing!! Maybe more, maybe less, who knows.... you, and so many on this thread still seem to be missing the point! The Farmer's Market is about the FARMERS, the same ones who grew the food and gave it to Paula to give to you to give to your friend... the FARMERS, the same ones who pitch tents and stand in the scorching sun or pouring down rain, in between the actual backbreaking work to simply produce the food (which they gave, out of the kindness of their hearts)....the FARMERS who are there when there's not an emergency, so that when there IS, people like you and the senior center have a place to go to find community support. I don't know how loud I can yell this or repeat this... it's about FARMERS!!! Not hired middle-management employees!

    I GET that you love Paula because you have had the most wonderful experience with her. Nobody is accusing you of lying about that. But why is it that anything to the contrary falls on deaf ears, is dismissed as lies, rumors, vitriol, etc.? You who go on waxing poetically remind me of the narrow-sighted mothers whose children I use to teach who could NEVER believe that it was their little precious, the fruit of their loins, who was the classroom bully! Nobody wants to think (and most, surely don't want to accept) that their beloved child, the same one who writes sweet loving Mother's Day cards in crayon, the same one who is a "free-spirit who needs to express themselves" (never mind they pounce and cut down the other children's opportunity to express), the same one who is so sweet and tender with the family puppy, is also the one who calls other children names when they don't think anyone can hear, hits the other kids when nobody's looking, hogs all the recess toys and doesn't share nicely. THIS IS HOW YOU SOUND... "Oh no, it couldn't be my little Charlie! If you knew him like me, he would never do that!" And yet, school bullying is real... there are little boys and girls who have been hurt and injured at the words and hands of somebody else's precious little one, apple of their eye, but those injured (like so many who suffer, are injure, or abused) remain silent!

    Now for all of you who want to practice your fly-by-night west county psychology on me... no, I was not abused as a child... no, I was not a victim of school yard bullying... no, this is not projection of my own unaddressed wounds...blahblahblah... this is an old fashion METAPHOR... because I'm not sure how else to explain it to you "Team Paula" people!!!

    PLEASE fact check my earlier comments! If you need, let me know and I will GLADLY direct you not to just personal testimonies, but cold hard documented facts. But please, consider that this thread, this issue, is not about PAULA! If you're one of those who claim you don't like politics, then please stand up and remind these folks that this is NOT where you repay someone with your allegiance and support because they once fed the sick or supported the elderly. This is not an employment campaign, unless of course you want to give suggestions as to what you'd like to see out of that position, by whomever is in it. What makes you think, so narrowly and shallowly, that Paula is the one-and-only? Paula, believe it or not, was once new and naive. Why are we all so supportive of young, fresh, inspired farmers, but when it comes to the management.... well, you see where I'm going.

    Lastly, my tenure on Wacco should hardly be a measure of my, or anyone else's, credibility. Seriously!
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  5. TopTop #63
    Cinda
    Guest

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by bret martin: View Post
    hi
    Hating on Paula or anyone is just hurtful and serves no purpose. Humans are magical and multi faceted indeed. I'm proud of Paula for earning so many loyal friends and helping out cancer patients with free food too. Im a colon cancer ileostomy chemo survivor and our baby just finished three years of chemo.I admire those who, like Paula, help those in great need. That being said, these admirable traits sadly don't make us qualified for jobs that require among other things a solid reputation free of damaging controversy.Even if I were to ignore all the hearsay, which is plentiful, I cannot deny the documented evidence that Paula is clearly not suited to run a farmers market at the Barlow. I am a firm believer in redemption and am keeping my heart open to all possibilities ..
    Thank you Bret for being even handed. Nobody can deny that Paula has done good things AND that documented evidence exists demonstrating that Paula is not suited to run a farmers market at the Barlow. Being privvy to both, I applaud your candor.
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  7. TopTop #64
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    THANK YOU BRET!! So honest and forthcoming (where you didn't need to be) and so well said!!! You put my post to shame, and I'm ok with that :)

    Liz

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by bret martin: View Post
    hi
    Hating on Paula or anyone is just hurtful and serves no purpose. Humans are magical and multi faceted indeed. I'm proud of Paula for earning so many loyal friends and helping out cancer patients with free food too. Im a colon cancer ileostomy chemo survivor and our baby just finished three years of chemo.I admire those who, like Paula, help those in great need. That being said, these admirable traits sadly don't make us qualified for jobs that require among other things a solid reputation free of damaging controversy.Even if I were to ignore all the hearsay, which is plentiful, I cannot deny the documented evidence that Paula is clearly not suited to run a farmers market at the Barlow. I am a firm believer in redemption and am keeping my heart open to all possibilities ..
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  9. TopTop #65

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by lizzysweet: View Post
    "The Barlow { at this stage and probably later } looks very sterile , corporate , all linear , concrete - much less friendly ,less natural , no harmonious flow =industrial type design , designed for profit.

    i wish we can keep our beautiful Sunday Farmer's market the way it is ; i regret that chasing the all-mighty dollaris a reason that we may lose this magnificent quaint style of our gathering . "

    I'm not sure what planet you live on, but it's not earth! Farmer's markets do not exist so you can get warm fuzzy feelings of "commonunity." They exist so farmers have a central place to sell their wares directly to the public.... FOR A PROFIT! They too have bills to pay, they too have children whom they'd like to send to college. The farmer's market is not your community church or west county hippie lovefest where followers of Pastor Paula go to be baptized. People like you who treat farmers like zoo animals, there for your gauging and entertainment, really chap my hide; it's disrespectful, unrealistic, and an embarrassment. If we don't design for profit, honey, then all that'll be left will be vineyards and zoos.

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but who among us--those commenting on this topic--have suggested or implied that we treat our farmers like zoo animals? I'm confused. I have said on many occasions that the markets have become, in addition to being our sources for wholesome local foods, our commons, the places where community thrives. I don't feel this is at cross-purposes with a thriving farmers market that allows--more than allows, it encourages and supports--farmers to earn a viable living. We shop, we pay what farmers ask, we tell our friends about our favorite vendors. Where is the problem with this?

    What do we have in this time that has replaced the town square, the community plaza? We no longer gather at the post office, as townsfolk once did. We don't gather at monthly dances, as was common a few decades ago. We don't even have Traverso's anymore. It seems that the farmers market has become the public place where we gather, catch up, visit with each other and that seems to benefit us all, the farmers and ranchers, the crafts people, the children who accompany their parents, the shoppers of all ages. Where is the problem?

    If this suggests I am from another planet, if this is perceived as an embarrassment, if this is disrespectful of farmers, I don't know what to say other than I don't think we are speaking the same language.

    The commons, by definition, is welcoming. It is a place for all of us.
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  11. TopTop #66
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    The who is "Caverly." (read earlier post) who is more concerned with maintaining the comingling interweaving circular flows, over the "All mighty dollar..." much like a zoo relies on non-profit donations and contributions to maintain it's wonderful meandering natural landscapes so that for families and visitors may enjoy pleasurable experience of interfacing with the unique and exotic in a beautiful, "natural," harmonious setting.

    "I regret that chasing the all-mighty dollaris a reason that we may lose this magnificent quaint style of our gathering." This is the implication that some would rather approach the idea of the farmers market more like one would approach the idea of say... a zoo... than a MARKETPLACE.... where people (like farmers) go to chase the "All Mighty Dollar"... the one that pays their bills. If circular flow brings them more money...great! If lots of parking and a direct route does the trick...great! Whatever will bring more "All Mighty Dollars" to our local farmers. I will grant you, it was an "implication," not a direct statement, to which I applied a SIMILE (I'm a big fan of that literary tool!), in order to perhaps shed a little perspective.

    Not saying I'm right, just answering your question... where was it coming from...who among you. (But let's be honest, if you were to ask me, I would say I'm right.)
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  13. TopTop #67
    applefan's Avatar
    applefan
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    This thread is really unbearably mean spirited. I personally think that Lizzysweet and Cinda are not following the guidelines of waccobb by continuing like this . Barry?.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-21-2012 at 04:48 PM.
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  15. TopTop #68
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Just because you don't like my position does not make it mean-spirited or against any rules. I have not used foul language, I have not used name-calling- although several on here would like to imply or pretend that I have. If saying that Paula is not the right person, please don't let her have anything to do with the farmer's market in Sebastopol any more, my experiences with her have been negative and awful... it doesn't make it a lie, it doesn't make it untrue, it doesn't make it mean-spirited.... it just makes it uncomfortable for those who can't bare to hear anything but "WE LOVE YOU PAULA!"

    Correction: I did say "west county hippie lovefest where followers of Pastor Paula go to be baptized." Sorry that sounded so mean. I'll try to refrain from such offensive imagery.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    This thread is really unbearably mean spirited. I personally think that Lizzysweet and Cinda are not following the guidelines of waccobb by continuing like this . Barry?.
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  17. TopTop #69
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    If it's so easy MAJ, pleeeez, don't leave us in suspense.... show us the documents that prove the inaccuracy of my claims... show the basis of my lies... if you can, because it would be productive. It would blow my whole argument out of the water. Consider me the "anyone (who is) so inclined."

    Liz

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by oliviathunderkitty: View Post
    I think the tone of this post goes a long way towards underscoring the points I made in a previous post. And I don't find it productive to respond in detail to such vitriol though it is quite easy to document the inaccuracy of these claims should anyone be so inclined.... I find her vilification terribly sad and, because it is based on lies, terribly frustrating.
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  18. TopTop #70
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by applefan: View Post
    This thread is really unbearably mean spirited. I personally think that Lizzysweet and Cinda are not following the guidelines of waccobb by continuing like this . Barry?.
    I'll post my thoughts tomorrow.
    Barry
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  20. TopTop #71
    caverly's Avatar
    caverly
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Gosh , Liz : Enough all ready { at least for me } .

    This is Sebastopol-planet where harmony and respect is freely given .
    Paula works hard , is dedicated to the Farmer's Market well-being and makes MAJOR contributions to the wonderfulness of our sweet commonnuity . And she is human . Let us leave it at that , if that is the worst .

    Personally , you remind me of the one time some one honked at me in Sebastopol and i wondered ," Why do you
    need to do that ? Don't you understand that all is being taken care of ? "
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  22. TopTop #72
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    And you still don't realize this thread is not (should not be) about Paula. Once you stop making it about her, then I'll let up. Deal?

    And if "all is taken care of," then why are you even participating in this? Unless, of course, you don't actually believe that yourself. Relax, Caverly, the universe will provide.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by caverly: View Post
    Gosh , Liz : Enough all ready { at least for me } .

    This is Sebastopol-planet where harmony and respect is freely given .
    Paula works hard , is dedicated to the Farmer's Market well-being and makes MAJOR contributions to the wonderfulness of our sweet commonnuity . And she is human . Let us leave it at that , if that is the worst .

    Personally , you remind me of the one time some one honked at me in Sebastopol and i wondered ," Why do you
    need to do that ? Don't you understand that all is being taken care of ? "
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  23. TopTop #73
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Please go easy on the negativity, at least till I weigh in.
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  25. TopTop #74
    rossmen
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    i don't know what documented evidence you are referring too. the seb farmers market might have a controversial manager but at least it is alive. i go there for the community aspect and have lots of choice where to buy food. the barlow seems to have gone through a lot of changes before building is completed. given this latest decision i wonder what the scene will be there. more and more it reminds me of the outlet stores in petaluma, a community dead zone with nothing but high end crap.
    Last edited by Barry; 11-21-2012 at 07:55 PM.
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  26. TopTop #75
    theindependenteye's Avatar
    theindependenteye
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Not to take any side in this particular dust-up, but just to comment on one comment,, i.e. that a farmers' market is for and about the farmers.

    I come from an all-farmer family (both sperm & ovum), and so though I'm damned glad my mom was the first kid off the farm, I do know what that life is like, both pro & con, and have great empathy.

    But anyone selling products in this society, whether supplier, distributor, or retailer, had damn well better believe, or at least give the impression of believing, that the marketplace is for and about the customer. Obviously, any outfit, be it CVS or Hard Core Espresso, is doing it to make a profit, but it all has to do with some combination of quality & diversity of product, price, and the atmosphere or ambiance of the space or "commons."

    We regularly attend the Sebastopol Market, buy most of our seedlings there when planting time comes, buy some veggies there now and then — limited because of price — and on rare occasions a craft item. So I can't claim that we're doing our sacred duty to support the farmers; frankly, we're supporting the pleasure of our Sunday mornings. From our POV, the Market is doing just fine.

    Re. farmers: I think we have a lot in common. I've worked in theatre for 52 years, professionally for the past 40. If we're small-scale, we have huge economic pressures & uncertainties. We're marginal to the mainstream, have minuscule ad budgets, but are competing with elephantine distribution, where publishers are now actually paying chain bookstores to feature their books up front. We're subject to huge competition and the whim of the moment. We work incredibly long, backbreaking hours, but all the public sees is the show on opening night or the pile of beets & chard. Even on our tiny scale, we're subject to intense competition — does my show get reviewed? do you get in the farmers' market? — and to the degree that we actually believe in the quality of our work, that makes for an extreme vulnerability to perceived insult.

    I could go on, but I'm both busy & sick, so I won't. I don't know if any of this is useful, but it's just offered into the mix.

    Peace & joy—
    Conrad
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  28. TopTop #76
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Conrad,

    First, thank you for your post! You are absolutely right, any business that wants to stay in business has to take into account quality, diversity, price, atmosphere, and ambiance; the mise-en-scene, if you will. I don't think there is any question among the farmers that they must always take the customer experience into consideration when selling their goods.

    However, to use your comparison, I don't think audiences or reviewers attend shows based on who the stage manager or production manager is. Every director hopes for a great one who will do a stellar job, and yes, usually tries to hire them again, but what makes them great at their job is understanding their job; to execute the vision of the director and maintain the integrity of the show... much like a market manager. But to so many within the theater, these job titles (director, casting director, production manager, stage manager, general manager, artistic director, technical director, executive director) are often blurred and confusing... I can't imagine what the layman must think, so I'm afraid your comparison (farming/business is like theater) is perhaps not the best one to use here. Furthermore, to compare a theater review to access to the free market, I'm afraid is also flawed (although I think I know what you're trying to say.)

    The vision of a play is created by the director who works in tandem with a creative and inspired production team, including his actors. In the case of farmers markets, the production team would be akin to the Board of Directors. In the case of Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, that would be the farmers. In the case of Redwood Empire Farmers' Markets, that would be the farmers and community representatives. In the case of Sonoma County Farmers Market Association dba Sebastopol Farmers Market, that would be your stage managers (Paula, Hilda, Erica).... and this​ is the problem.... when then stage manager starts changing the directors vision through the run of the show.

    But instead of continuing to clear up your words, let me clear up mine.... allow the farmers to be their own businessmen, concerned about their own customers. Those who do, will succeed. Those who don't, will fail. Let the free market be the free market, and trust that, as Caverly says, "All will be taken care of." The market manager is there to execute and maintain a vision, not to dictate who has access to the free market and who does not. Let the operating organization create their vision (like any good director) and hire a market manger who will execute and maintain that vision. THAT is the healthy relationship and practice which I would like to see the Barlow, and the Sebastopol community, adopt.

    i hope I was able to clear up my perspective. Again, thank you for yours... and your body of creative work.

    Liz

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by theindependenteye: View Post
    Not to take any side in this particular dust-up, but just to comment on one comment,, i.e. that a farmers' market is for and about the farmers....
    Peace & joy—
    Conrad
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  29. TopTop #77
    Dorothy Friberg's Avatar
    Dorothy Friberg
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Sounds like you had your cup of venom this morning "lizzy" and it wasn't "sweet"

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by lizzysweet: View Post
    "The Barlow { at this stage and probably later } looks very sterile , corporate , all linear , concrete - much less friendly ,less natural , no harmonious flow =industrial type design , designed for profit.

    i wish we can keep our beautiful Sunday Farmer's market the way it is ; i regret that chasing the all-mighty dollaris a reason that we may lose this magnificent quaint style of our gathering . "

    I'm not sure what planet you live on, but it's not earth! Farmer's markets do not exist so you can get warm fuzzy feelings of "commonunity." They exist so farmers have a central place to sell their wares directly to the public.... FOR A PROFIT! They too have bills to pay, they too have children whom they'd like to send to college. The farmer's market is not your community church or west county hippie lovefest where followers of Pastor Paula go to be baptized. People like you who treat farmers like zoo animals, there for your gauging and entertainment, really chap my hide; it's disrespectful, unrealistic, and an embarrassment. If we don't design for profit, honey, then all that'll be left will be vineyards and zoos.
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  31. TopTop #78
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    True dat Dorothy... I like my venom like I like my coffee; bitter, not sweet; strong, not weak! I'll grant ya, a straight shot of espresso is not your triple decaf soy latte... but to each their own, eh?

    Barry?

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Dorothy Friberg: View Post
    Sounds like you had your cup of venom this morning "lizzy" and it wasn't "sweet"
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  32. TopTop #79
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by lizzysweet: View Post
    Barry?
    This has been a very interesting discussion. The original question was "What do you want to see at a Barlow's Farmer's Market?" It was not really about Paula.

    The thread has recently become about Paula. On the whole, given that there appears to be several people who have a negative opinion about how Paula has managed the Farmer's Markets, beside the many people who appreciate her management, it's been handled relatively respectfully, IMO, if not completely so. It's a challenge to voice a negative opinion with respect, though altogether possible. Beyond that, it's a challenge reference in public the specific actions that lead to that opinion, especially if the actions weren't taken in public.

    Allow me to add some comments regarding Paula before we move on:

    It sounds like much, but not all, of the complaints stem from certain farmer's not being able to participate at the market, for one reason or another. Two things strike me about that: One is that people often get very upset if they don't get what they want and they can easily make it about the person who is making the decision, whether it is warranted or not. I've experienced that plenty in my role as moderator here, some of which you have seen. On the other hand, maybe they are right... and I am an asshole...

    The other thing that comes to mind, is that the Sebastopol Farmer's market appears to be a victim of its own success. if it weren't booming, then people wouldn't be so upset for not be allowed to participate. That's Paula's "fault", too!

    Given that the farmer's market play such an important role in the community, I felt that it was appropriate to air the concerns about its management. However, I think we've exhaustively aired the various viewpoints now and clearly some people have one experience and some people have a different experience. And as some of you have pointed out, they both may be right! I don't think there is any point to continue.

    In addition, it's my understanding is that Paula is due to retire next year!

    As long as The Barlow doesn't start a market on Sunday, the current Sunday market can continue just as is. Yes, I suppose you could say they might have more "competition" if there's another market on Saturday's at the Barlow, but that's no different then another grocery store opening up in town, and given that they are not "open" at the same time, it's not direct competition.

    It seems to me that another market on another day, no matter who runs it, is a big win for the community!

    So let's put management aside, and get back to talking about the market! Further opinions about days and hours are welcome. ( I would suggest a year round Saturday market at the Barlow, and adding a midweek afternoon/evening one during daylight savings time). Also who should be there or not there? Only organics? What about uncertified organics? Only local (where do you draw the line)? What about service providers? Community groups? Local crafts? Should the vendors be limited as to not have too much repetition?

    Have you noticed that the lawn where the Farmers Market is going to be at The Barlow is in now? I think it's going to be sweet!
    Last edited by Barry; 11-22-2012 at 10:15 PM.
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  34. TopTop #80
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Thanks Barry! I greatly appreciate your perspective on the challenge of voicing negative feedback. I hope the last thing I have to contribute is this:

    Barlow: DO A SUNDAY MARKET!

    I see no reason why not! Invite all the farmers who were already planning to move to the Barlow on Sunday, before this whole thing became about Paula. the only reason NOT to do it on Sunday, as far as I can tell, is to... what?... not step on the toes of someone who, like you said Barry, is retiring anyway? I mean, Paula herself was touting how wonderful the new location was going to be for the market, right here on Wacco threads. Now, because Barlow is not interested in Paula, Sundays are off the table. I don't understand this caveat. Sundays are what the customers and farmers are already accustom to, It's what they've already been planning on, and the only other market happening on Sundays (that I'm aware of) is Windsor, which is seasonal. Saturday markets.... well, let's see... there's the Vet's, Wells Fargo, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Napa, Marin. Most of the vendors that sell right now on Sundays also do at least one, if not more, of the already existing Sat. markets... don'tcha think you might be asking a bit much of the local vendors? And again...why for?

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Barry: View Post
    This has been a very interesting discussion. The original question was "What do you want to see at a Barlow's Farmer's Market?" It was not really about Paula.

    The thread has recently become about Paula. On the whole, given that there appears to be several people who have a negative opinion about how Paula has managed the Farmer's Markets, beside the many people who appreciate her management, it's been handled relatively respectfully, IMO, if not completely so. It's a challenge to voice a negative opinion with respect, though altogether possible. Beyond that, it's a challenge reference in public the specific actions that lead to that opinion, especially if the actions weren't taken in public.

    Allow me to add some comments regarding Paula before we move on:

    It sounds like much, but not all, of the complaints stem from certain farmer's not being able to participate at the market, for one reason or another. Two things strike me about that: One is that people often get very upset if they don't get what they want and they can easily make it about the person who is making the decision, whether it is warranted or not. I've experienced that plenty in my role as moderator here, some of which you have seen. On the other hand, maybe they are right... and I am an asshole...

    The other thing that comes to mind, is that the Sebastopol Farmer's market appears to be a victim of it's own success. if it weren't booming, then people wouldn't be so upset for not be allowed to participate. That's Paula's "fault", too!

    Given that the farmer's market play such an important role in the community, I felt that it was appropriate to air the concerns about it's management. However, I think we've exhaustively aired the various viewpoints now and clearly some people have one experience and some people have a different experience. And as some of you have pointed out, they both may be right! I don't think there is any point to continue.

    In addition, it's my understanding is that Paula is due to retire next year!

    As long as The Barlow doesn't start a market on Sunday, the current Sunday market can continue just as is. Yes, I suppose you could say they might have more "competition" if there's another market on Saturday's at the Barlow, but that's no different then another grocery store opening up in town, and given that they are not "open" at the same time, it's not direct competition.

    It seems to me that another market on another day, no matter who runs it, is a big win for the community!

    So let's put management aside, and get back to talking about the market! Further opinions about days and hours are welcome. ( I would suggest a year round Saturday market at the Barlow, and adding a midweek afternoon/evening one during daylight savings time). Also who should be there or not there? Only organics? What about uncertified organics? Only local (where do you draw the line)? What about service providers? Community groups? Local crafts? Should the vendors be limited as to not have too much repetition?

    Have you noticed that the lawn where the Farmers Market is going to be at The Barlow is in now? I think it's going to be sweet!
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  36. TopTop #81
    bret martin
    Guest

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow



    Quote Posted in reply to the post by rossmen: View Post
    i don't know what documented evidence you are referring too. the seb farmers market might have a controversial manager but at least it is alive. i go there for the community aspect and have lots of choice where to buy food. the barlow seems to have gone through a lot of changes before building is completed. given this latest decision i wonder what the scene will be there. more and more it reminds me of the outlet stores in petaluma, a community dead zone with nothing but high end crap.
    hi
    if your questioning is merely rhetorical i understand but if you have any interest in learning about our plans and why we are making certain tough choices please dont hesitate to contact me
    bret
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  37. TopTop #82
    bret martin
    Guest

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow



    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Barry: View Post
    The one very-wrong answer is to have a another market at The Barlow on Sundays. Please do not do that!
    barry
    respectfully i disagree
    i thought like you that a sunday market would be a bad idea and told paulas board head that we would choose saturday to avoid conflict. he said please do sunday and not saturday. saturday belongs to santa rosa and sebastopol owns sunday. then i agreed and we plotted how two markets so close to each other could benefit each other and help each other create a powerful sunday destination. that was my last meeting with paulas team and i was awaiting good news about a friendly union of markets on sundays when i discovered paulas board had begun distributing handouts to vendors urging them to confront the barlow. thats when i entered wacco to clarify our position.

    i feel a bit betrayed perhaps the kind of betrayal paula felt when the barlow that she spoke out for and championed suddenly brought me in ..and i caused the barlow and barney to turn on her..but of course i feel firmly that paula has given us no other choice as her chickens have come home to roost in my lawyers office..
    bret
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  39. TopTop #83
    caverly's Avatar
    caverly
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    i emphatically agree with Barry =
    The one very-wrong answer is to have a another market at The Barlow on Sundays. Please do not do that!

    and there is no wisdom splitting the shopping traffic to two locations at the same time . i think the vendors would really suffer ,btw .
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  41. TopTop #84
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Ooooh SNAP!

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by bret martin: View Post



    barry
    respectfully i disagree
    i thought like you that a sunday market would be a bad idea and told paulas board head that we would choose saturday to avoid conflict. he said please do sunday and not saturday. saturday belongs to santa rosa and sebastopol owns sunday. then i agreed and we plotted how two markets so close to each other could benefit each other and help each other create a powerful sunday destination. that was my last meeting with paulas team and i was awaiting good news about a friendly union of markets on sundays when i discovered paulas board had begun distributing handouts to vendors urging them to confront the barlow. thats when i entered wacco to clarify our position.

    i feel a bit betrayed perhaps the kind of betrayal paula felt when the barlow that she spoke out for and championed suddenly brought me in ..and i caused the barlow and barney to turn on her..but of course i feel firmly that paula has given us no other choice as her chickens have come home to roost in my lawyers office..
    bret
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  42. TopTop #85
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by caverly: View Post
    and there is no wisdom splitting the shopping traffic to two locations at the same time . i think the vendors would really suffer ,btw .
    You are quite right, Caverly.... (for once we agree! Look at that!) Your point is made evident by the farmer's market split that happened in the 90's AND the recent split caused by Paula when she decided to open up a new market at a new location, at the same time as the Vet's market (the one that had already been in existence for 40 years)....and on top of it, gave vendors an ultimatum of where they could and could not sell!!!!.... A decision that was recently reviewed and upheld.

    THIS is the reason why vendors are starting to leave Wells Fargo and return to the Vet's!! Because the split DID cause suffering to the vendors! And considering that Redwood Empire Farmers' Markets has not only managed to work peacefully with the county and new management company, has upheld their promises to welcome all local farmers, keep stall fees the same (a mere $26/$16 per day), and is also financially solvent, even WITHOUT the county subsidy that SROFM enjoyed for so so many years, goes to show.... there was never a need to open a competing market at the same time on the same day and forcing vendors to choose!

    SROFM is now paying the same amount at Wells Fargo as they would have paid had they played nice with the county and sucked up the fiscal responsibility to begin with.... like the grownups who chose to stay at the Vet's. And to boot, they have less space for vendors because they are enjoying a much smaller footprint, and they get canceled, have to change their market dates, and get shuffled around the back parking lot.

    You are totally right.... splitting the market only causes suffering to the vendors! GO SUNDAY AT THE BARLOW!!! FREE THE CAPTIVES FROM WELLS FARGO!!!!



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  44. TopTop #86
    rossmen
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    i really do want the lowdown on paula's misdeeds, though not enough to meet privately. i enjoy public bb discussions, transparent process, consensus and democracy. what are you willing to write to everybody? it reads from your next post that you are now in a legal, confidential based, confrontational process with the existing sebastopol farmers market board :.(

    i also think it would be an inauspicious start for the barlow to set up a competing market time. try something different. perhaps a few permanent outdoor stalls rented at low cost on a rotating basis with changing road signage. build excitement about the destination rather than dividing community.

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by bret martin: View Post



    hi
    if your questioning is merely rhetorical i understand but if you have any interest in learning about our plans and why we are making certain tough choices please dont hesitate to contact me
    bret
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  45. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  46. TopTop #87
    bret martin
    Guest

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow



    Quote Posted in reply to the post by rossmen: View Post
    i really do want the lowdown on paula's misdeeds, though not enough to meet privately. i enjoy public bb discussions, transparent process, consensus and democracy. what are you willing to write to everybody? it reads from your next post that you are now in a legal, confidential based, confrontational process with the existing sebastopol farmers market board :.(

    i also think it would be an inauspicious start for the barlow to set up a competing market time. try something different. perhaps a few permanent outdoor stalls rented at low cost on a rotatingbret basis with changing road signage. build excitement about the destination rather than dividing community.

    ok heres two key facts that are a matter of undisputed record.
    i have a letter drafted and signed by paula that was distributed to her vendors where among other things she calls her foe dan smith newt gingrich and calls dans assistant a henchman. the tone of this later scared all of us here at the barlow.

    the lawsuit that paulas board paid out on recently as per the press democrat has in it a defacto mutual restraining order or stay away clause.
    if paula or her management team operate at the barlow then on that day each week paulas legal foes will not be allowed to shop or eat or step on to the premises.

    this is a deal killer by itself and that means paulas foes cant manage anything here either..they did like a murder suicide with each other when it comes to participating here at the barlow in any future managerial capacity..

    everything else i have is amazingly damning too but its just hearsay once i tell you so i will stand by whats indisputable only
    bret
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  48. TopTop #88
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by bret martin: View Post
    saturday belongs to santa rosa and sebastopol owns sunday.
    I think it's silly to consider Sebastopol and Santa Rosa as serving the same market. Yes, there are a virtual handful of people that live someplace between that might decide to come to Sebastopol for a Saturday market, who would have gone to Santa Rosa, but that seems like a very minor factor when compared to the net total increase in customers by having a Saturday market in Sebastopol.

    Quote then i agreed and we plotted how two [sunday] markets so close to each other could benefit each other and help each other create a powerful sunday destination. that was my last meeting with paulas team and i was awaiting good news about a friendly union of markets on sundays when i discovered paulas board had begun distributing handouts to vendors urging them to confront the barlow. thats when i entered wacco to clarify our position.
    it gets “curiouser and curiouser!”
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  50. TopTop #89
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    I'm not quite sure what qualifies your assessment, but if Sebastopol goes Saturday, good luck finding the vendors!

    And for the record, I've been asked to tone it down a bit. People can accuse me of vitriol and lying without any proof, exercise their own condescension veiled in metaphysics, but my tone needs must be toned down... I agree, it gets "curiouser and curiouser!

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Barry: View Post
    I think it's silly to consider Sebastopol and Santa Rosa as serving the same market. Yes, there are a virtual handful of people that live someplace between that might decide to come to Sebastopol for a Saturday market, who would have gone to Santa Rosa, but that seems like a very minor factor when compared to the net total increase in customers by having a Saturday market in Sebastopol.


    it gets “curiouser and curiouser!”
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  51. TopTop #90
    lizzysweet
     

    Re: Farmer's Market at The Barlow

    Let me help you, Bret!

    May 21, 2009
    Santa Rosa Board of Directors
    Dear Santa Rosa Board of Directors

    It is unfortunate that I have to write this letter, but I believe it is necessary for the Board as well as the association to know this. On Wednesday, May 20, 2009 about 8:00 a.m., I was approached by the market manager, Paula Downing, in a very unprofessional and inappropriate manner.

    My family has farmed...for almost 25 years. We have been member of the Santa Rosa Farmer's Market for 20 years. We sold our produce at over 20 different farmers' markets throughout the years, and never have we encountered such hostility.

    As I was setting up, Paula asked me if I wanted to talk about what was going on with me. I had no idea what she was referring to. I answered, "no." Paula then told me that she had been "sensing" some negative feelings from me and that she wanted me to tell her what my problem was. Not knowing what she was alluding to, I said I had nothing to say to her.

    Paula proceeded to tell me that she had lots of problems and that she did not need any more. She stated that if she wanted to, she could "kick me out of Sebastopol Farmers' Market" and that she never had to let me in. She repeated that if I was going to cause more problems, she would just kick me out.

    I asked her if she was threatening me. She answered, "yes."

    Believing that I had in some way misunderstood her, I asked her again, "are you threatening me?" Again, she said "yes" and repeated that she never had to let me into the Sebastopol Market, and could have me "out" if she wanted.

    I was shocked and appalled that at 8:00 a.m.- the beginning of a business day at the market- at my place of work, Paula was threatening me to have me kicked out of another market because she was "sensing" some negative feelings from me.

    I asked her again if she was threatening me. Again she answered yes. I let Paula know that she had misinterpreted my "feelings" because I had no idea what she was referring to, as I had neither said nor done anything to her. Paula replied, "okay" and left my table.

    I was very upset that a manager would threaten me at my place of work. I left my booth to make a phone call and walked to the restroom. As I exited the restroom I found myself face to face with Paula, who again told me, "we need to talk." I told her repeatedly that I was on the phone and did not wish to speak to her.

    She then confronted me in the parking lot and said she was sorry if she misunderstood my feelings but we needed to talk. I told her I did not wish to speak to her and I asked her to please leave me alone. Paula said we needed to talk and asked me if I "did not believe in forgiveness."

    I told Paula again to please leave me alone, and that I did not want to speak to her. I informed her that I believed she had acted in a very inappropriate and unprofessional way and that she had upset me and I did not want to speak to her until I had collected my thoughts. She finally left, but not before telling me that she would later call me so that we could talk.

    My immediate thought was to just let this incident pass, however, after consulting with family (we're a family business), I realized that the market manager's behavior was without a doubt uncalled for, inappropriate, and a clear threat to our small business.

    Though the actual threat to kick us out of the Sebastopol Market has nothing to do with the Santa Rosa Association, (I will address the matter with the Sebastopol Farmers' Market Board of Directors); the threat was made at the Santa Rosa Farmers' Market, by its manager, during business hours.

    I am not willing to accept Paula's behavior and the threat she made for no just cause.

    As a member of the association, and as a vendor, I expect the board of directors to respond promptly. The market manager is a representative of the association. i would like a guarantee that this type of unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated, nor repeated. More importantly, I would like some assurance that Paula will not carry out her threat.

    Regards,

    (I leave this anonymous to protect the innocent, however, this letter IS a matter of public record... I can offer more if you like. It only gets worse.)

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by bret martin: View Post




    ok heres two key facts that are a matter of undisputed record.
    i have a letter drafted and signed by paula that was distributed to her vendors where among other things she calls her foe dan smith newt gingrich and calls dans assistant a henchman. the tone of this later scared all of us here at the barlow.

    the lawsuit that paulas board paid out on recently as per the press democrat has in it a defacto mutual restraining order or stay away clause.
    if paula or her management team operate at the barlow then on that day each week paulas legal foes will not be allowed to shop or eat or step on to the premises.

    this is a deal killer by itself and that means paulas foes cant manage anything here either..they did like a murder suicide with each other when it comes to participating here at the barlow in any future managerial capacity..

    everything else i have is amazingly damning too but its just hearsay once i tell you so i will stand by whats indisputable only
    bret
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