5 Responses to “DCRA response to criticism over Liberty Market closure”

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  1. The information provided by the DCRA representative is false and misleading. Diverse Markets has a contract to operate on the Historical Society’s property, which was assured to be private land. This contract was produced to the police officers (plural, as it included Metropolitan Police as well as Park Police). This market does include farmers-growers of their own product, as well as locally made and specially-sourced natural food products, including directly imported coffee beans from Honduras (www.hondocoffee.com), baked breads, natural teas,Provence-imported olive oils and other unique items. Obviously at this time of the year, there are very few locally harvested fruits or vegetables, thus we do allow our agricultural purveyors to supplement their products with related items, like oranges. We also welcome products that are focused on a particular cultural need, thus one agricultural purveyor sells sugar cane and plantains. It cannot be grown locally, but it is important to certain communities in the area and not easily or cheaply found. We believe strongly in providing fresh, nutritious and natural products to the community, rather than a strictly purist “growers-only” market, which can already be found in the neighboring Penn Quarter area. This was intended to be a community market that would sell a variety of products as well as locally grown goods. All participating vendors have their food licenses and are legal to to business in DC.

    Further, the “organizer”, Diverse Markets Management has a basic business license and the land owner has a Certificate of Occupancy and are in discussions with DCRA to figure out what, if anything, they need to do to comply with regulations for market activity on presumed private land. “Farmers Markets” regulations were created by DDOT for the use of public Space. It has not been determined that this is public space, as many events has taken place here before without city involvement, nor that it is DDOT’s jurisdiction.

    I regret DCRA’s dispersions that this activity was illegal and further that they have acted in such a crude manner. I welcome the communities support in what was to be a community gathering place and a source of wholesome products at reasonable prices.

  2. MVTer

    Poorly handled by DCRA.

  3. Chris 555 Mass Ave

    Whenever I was there (admittedly infreqeuntly) there were no farm products being offered – only tchotckes and other junk. Not what I would call a farmer’s market.

  4. MVTer

    I bought vegetables there Chris. And some great bread every week. The first few weeks the vegetable vendors were iffy, but they got consistent as time went on.

  5. FourthandEye

    I support the market. However I think the choice of the word “raid” in the press release was a bit over the top and unfortunate. The word “raid” evokes the imagery of a DEA drug bust in the minds of many. This has led to a small number of people spreading the rumor that this was a drug related shutdown. Not the case. I’ve talked to individuals close to the situation and this is simply a permitting issue that is confused by jurisdictional issues and the interpretation of the Historical Society of Washington’s Certificate of Occupancy.