Save Haleiwa Farmers' Market
The State Department of Transportation has issued a Cease and Desist order to the Haleiwa Farmers’ Market. Having operated without any issues for three years HFM owners and market managers Pamela Boyar and Annie Suite were surprised and confused at this development. Since April of 2009, the Haleiwa Farmers’ Market has been operating under a month-to-month agreement with the DOT. In February 2011 they received notice that the State Department of Transportation wanted to switch from the month-to-month agreement to a more formal annual agreement. The HFM hired legal counsel to help them sort through the list, negotiate points of confusion, and ensure they were doing everything necessary to achieve compliance. Unexpectedly, Haleiwa Farmers’ Market received orders to Cease and Desist. “We can’t tell the crops in the fields- the crops planted by small family farmers, the crops grown specifically for this farmers’ market with the express purpose of feeding the North Shore and surrounding communities- to cease and desist. The crops are coming up, ready to pick and now our growers have no market at which to sell them,” says Market Manager Annie Suite. LuAnn Casey, of Tin Roof Ranch says, “I can’t believe it, all these small farmers potentially losing the best venue the North Shore has ever had. We have over 2300 people that come through that market every Sunday, we sell out our 100 dozen organic eggs every week.” The reason given refers to Section 264-101 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes: “Vending from highways is prohibited.” The two tiny remnant parcels at issue amount to approximately 2 1/2 acres of land zoned partially Urban and partially Ag2. These remnants served no purpose since the completion of the Joseph P. Leong Bypass in 1993 until Haleiwa Farmers’ Market opened its ‘doors’ on April 5, 2009. Prior to 1993 this roadway was a portion of the Kamehameha Highway, and it is this dead roadway that the statute is referring to, and disallowing vending. Over the course of the past year, HFM owners and their lawyers have been in communication with Department Agriculture, the Mayor’s Office, the Governor’s office, and multiple State Senators and Representatives all who saw no reason for the market to move from its current location and applauded the efforts made by Boyar and Suite to create a vibrant outlet for community gathering and agricultural and artistic marketplace. As advocates for small family farmers, Boyar and Suite are often found at the Land Use Commission testifying to protect agricultural lands such as Ho‘opili and Koa Ridge, or at the State legislature testifying for farmers’ rights. Though their views on food safety and food security may not be popular with many politicians, it does not stop them from voicing them. “I have been working with small farmers for over 30 years. They are the hardest working group of individuals I know. They take tremendous financial risk so that we can have food on our tables. We need to do all that we can to support, rather than impede them in this task,” says Boyar. Suite adds, “There seems to be a disconnect between what is said and what is done about wanting to increase local food for local consumption. When 92% of Hawaii’s food is imported, and the state wants to take the most productive agricultural land out of commission and cover it with concrete, or we try to pass legislation that increases the cost of farmers doing business- and thereby the cost of produce- by 25-30%, something is drastically wrong with the picture.” We the undersigned, want the Haleiwa Farmers' Market back. We ask that you allow the market to continue at its' current location until a suitable alternative space can be found. Do not ruin the livelihoods of 60 small businesses. Do not destroy this vital part of our community. Honor the agreement you have been working toward for the past year. Save Haleiwa Farmers' Market.