Community View | Moving the farmers market concerns many members of the public

In the interest of accuracy and representation, here is a timeline of recent events as I was involved in them:

Multiple members of the public have voiced concern about the location of the Kingman Farmers Market, for varying reasons from the heat to the flag potentially being perceived by some as unwelcoming.

As reflected in the meeting minutes (distributed at the August meeting) from Wednesday, July 11, 2018, a board member proposed consideration of a new market location, excerpted as follows:

[A member] brought to the group that the City of Kingman’s council members were interested in working with the market and provided an opportunity to move the market to the cooler temped and more visible location of Railroad Park. Discussion of holding a specialty market first and then investigating the possibility of moving it for future markets. … [Another member] stated he would work with the current host to investigate options of moving the market permanently.

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, I drafted a petition to gauge community support based on the above information, as well as input from downtown business owners, a market vendor, and community members. The petition read as follows:

The Kingman Farmers Market’s weekly event has had immeasurable impact on our community. It has provided a place for friends and neighbors to come together and for local farmers, growers, artisans, and craftsmen to share their products.

To widen its audience, we hope that the Kingman Farmers Market will consider relocating. Locomotive Park offers an attractive environment for tourists and Mohave County locals. Logistically, the transition would be simple, as the proposed new location is near the current spot in Kingman’s ever-growing downtown.

The Farmers Market seems to have outgrown its current location in a number of ways:

Some community members complain that the heat is overbearing, causing them to spend less time than they otherwise would or avoid the market altogether. Locomotive Park has ample shade and grass to naturally cool the event and patrons.

The available space at the current location is limited. Locomotive Park gives the market room to “grow together” with the community as they intend. This setting also encourages patrons to explore their surroundings and potentially stay longer at the market.

Finally, the Farmers Market should consider the implications of the imagery that surrounds it – specifically the confederate flag displayed prominently around the event and adjacent business. However one chooses to interpret the meaning of this symbol, it does not represent the values of community and togetherness that this event promotes by its very nature. The symbol is unrelated and outdated at best; it represents something far more sinister at worst. We would like to send a welcoming message to those who wish to attend the Kingman Farmers Market. Would not the new arch that reads “Welcome to Kingman” be a more appropriate backdrop for this event?

If the Kingman Farmers Market aims to appeal to visitors, they should strongly consider a location change to Locomotive Park.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, two community members attended the public meeting of the Farmers Market board to continue conversation with board members.

The petition gathered over 221 signatures before I closed it on Friday, Aug. 10, as discussions were planned with the Farmers Market Board.

Also, on Friday, Aug. 10, I became aware that a sign was torn down at Thunder Rode, on the corner of Beale and First streets, and the location of the Kingman Farmers Market.

As indicated above, my written statement – directed to the Kingman Farmers Market board – gathered significant support; it does not name or implicate Jack Alexander or Thunder Rode, nor does it suggest removal of the flag in any way. It certainly does not suggest violence or hatred.

The actions of the individual or individuals who removed the flag have tarnished my name and those of others mentioned publicly. However, I refuse to accept my labeling as a member of a “radical hate group,” and the accusation of “fomenting hate speech and violence against others.” I have not committed or encouraged any such acts. I simply created a written petition based on input from community stakeholders, including citizens with direct involvement with the market.

In my opinion, the writing and publication of Jack Alexander’s statement constitutes defamation of my name and character.