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NYC Makes It Hard To Open Farmers Markets In Poor Areas

First Posted: 04/12/11 04:26 PM ET Updated: 06/12/11 06:12 AM ET

Farmers Market New York

When it comes to providing fresh fruit and vegetables to New Yorkers in poor neighborhoods, the city needs to get out of the way.

That's according to a new report, completed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office, which finds that those who want to open a farmers market in their community face "excessive fees, confusing rules and a lack of coordination among agencies" according to the New York Times.

"Instead of all the red tape, we should roll out the red carpet, because every time one of these farmers' markets succeeds, you end up serving a community that has no access to this produce," Stringer told the Times. "I think sometimes the job of the city government is to get out of the way and let things happen organically, no pun intended."

The report concludes that the permitting process for markets is "decentralized, inconsistent, confusing and expensive," noting that an operator can be forced to shell out $1,300 before getting a permit.

"This can be a heavy financial toll for small market operators with limited resources for whom running markets is often not their primary job," the report states.

The city already runs its own Greenmarket program through the non-profit GrowNYC.

But, the Times contends that markets run by the city tend to thrive in more affluent areas.

By contrast, the report finds that 73 percent of smaller community-based markets are in low-income neighborhoods.

Stringer's office suggests that the city get rid of permitting fees for markets in low-income communities and simplify the application process.

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Filed by Simon McCormack  |