Minimizing Government Regulation
One of the most successful economic develop initiatives by local volunteers is the Bowling Green Farmer’s Market now in its sixth year. From April through October, the market brings visitors to town on Saturday morning drawn by everything from homemade breads, pies and cakes to a huge variety of locally grown produce, herbal teas, handmade soaps and an incredible variety of flowers. Early in the planning process of the market, the managers met with representatives of the VDA (Virginia Department of Agriculture) for a sign off and until 2012 had not had any issues.
In the summer of 2012, on two separate occasions Virginia Department of Agriculture inspectors made visits to the market unannounced. When pressed for problem areas or how issues could be resolved, information was not forthcoming or duplicated previous answers which had already been addressed. Sili set up a meeting with Delegate Margaret Ransone who represents the Town in the 99th District and the VDA as well as market manager, Mark Mallin to clarify what, if any issues remained.
After the meeting, Sili said “As a regular patron of the Bowling Green Farmer’s Market I realize how much activity this event brings to Town and would not like to see a state agency undermine the market without cause. Hopefully we have been able to come to an understanding and to be solution oriented to address any concerns the VDA might have with vendors.” Delegate Ransone has also discovered redundancy in some requirements between the VDA and their health department, which may be eliminated with legislation. The meeting was very productive. To date, the Virginia Department of Agriculture has not expressed any concerns about the Bowling Green Farmers Market.