Letters to the Editor
Farmers market in park a bad idea
The unexpected announcement that somehow we lucky residents of Kenwood have been enabled to “host” a Community Farmers Market in our very own Plaza Park resembled an air raid siren. Take cover: your quiet little residential park is about to be taken over on 16 Sundays a year by a Marin County based for-profit commercial enterprise. This remarkable invasion is presented as a done deal.
The loss of use of the Plaza Park by local residents and visiting families with children on a Sunday afternoon is appalling. The associated parking on our narrow neighborhood streets and in front of the Kenwood Community Church, traffic congestion, trash from food sales, noise and likely damage to the grassy areas of our park are truly unwelcomed prospects.
Our Sonoma County representatives should have provided a Kenwood public forum before the use permit was issued. Now we need Supervisor Gorin and the Regional Parks Department to fully consider and appreciate the local interests in this matter. After all, if we really wanted a Farmers Market in our park, we would have already asked for one. The wonderful Gazebo project, now nearly complete, was intended to enable more community events in our park. The Farmers Market is by no means a community event.
Chuck and Sallie Wood
Pro Farmers Market view
Open letter to the residents of Kenwood,
We would like to say we are in favor of the Farmers Market on Sundays in the Kenwood Plaza Park. Sadly, it would appear there is some dissension as to the merits of a community farmers market. As residents of Kenwood with our home adjacent to the plaza, we are delighted with the opportunity to have a farmer’s market come to our neighborhood. To our way of thinking, there is no better way to have fresh vegetables and produce practically delivered to our doorstep.
The farmers market is proposed as a passive use of the plaza (the part of the park between the bridge and Warm Springs Road), a plaza designed for this type of purpose. The rural nature of our neighborhood is very important to us and we feel this will not be a detriment but an opportunity, a way to embrace our country ways. Park use has increased steadily over the years and in our opinion, the present daily uses of the park and its surrounds do not have significant impact to our neighborhood. To a designer, an increase in park use is an indicator of a successful design.
Many may not realize during the initial design of the plaza there were public meetings regarding the uses for the park, the goal being to develop a master plan. It was during these meetings that proposed uses of the park were discussed and ultimately implemented as part of the park design. The gazebo is a great example of the results of these discussions. Based on public input, the plaza was designed to accommodate booths for community events, including a farmers market. At the time, the pillow fights were the primary use of this space along with the occasional community gathering. The community provided input and the plaza was designed to reflect the community wishes. The reality of the Kenwood Plaza is it is both historically and presently the town center. It was designed with this in mind. Everywhere in the world farmers markets take place in the town center. Our hope is not to create a four-hour party every Sunday, but to bring local farmers to our town so that we may be supportive and receive healthy, local, fresh produce in exchange. Unlike the large event driven markets in Sonoma, Healdsburg and Santa Rosa, this market is intended to provide for our small community in a low impact way.
Having this market in our park makes a tremendous amount of sense. Due to it’s location in and proximity to our community, many local people will be able to walk to the market, minimizing trips in cars to Santa Rosa or Sonoma. It will bring people together in a community sense and we will benefit from the offerings of fresh Sonoma County produce brought to us. Shopping at the big box grocery stores supports a non-local, faceless economy. A community farmer’s market supports our local economy, our local farmers your neighbors.
We ask the community to consider the benefits of this proposal as well as the facts about what is being proposed. It is being offered on a trial basis and if, for whatever reason it is not a good fit, so be it. If negative perceptions are the driving force behind our decisions we risk losing the opportunities for well and good of our community. Many of us have been waiting years for this and we feel this will be a positive way to maintain the sense of community in our town.
Don and Amy MacNair
[Don MacNair is the landscape architect who designed Plaza Park. – Ed.]
Lawns and drought
As I wind my way through Kenwood I pass many drought-burnt yards. Suddenly my eyes are drawn toward a perfectly kept, gleaming green lawn. A scant few more stand out as I drive by. Further along I come to a large expanse of land being prepared for another trophy vineyard. The entire acreage is a shining, brilliant green.
Oh, I think, these are the owners of privilege. The chosen few. After dark the water elf creeps in to turn on their sprinklers while they sleep peacefully unconcerned.
This brings to mind a Charles Schulz cartoon: Lucy pounds her desk and rages, “The trouble with the world today is APATHY!” Then she casually shrugs her shoulders and says, “But then, who cares?”