Wild Flight Farm received a big show of support on Saturday as about 75 people gathered to demonstrate against the decision to exclude the popular organic farm from the Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market.
It wasn’t enough to get the popular vendor of organic produce back into the market. While no one associated with the market has returned calls from the Review, posts on social media indicate that Wild Flight Farm will not be allowed into the market this summer and discussions are underway to start a second market.
“Despite the heart-warming gesture of support from this community yesterday, none of our desired outcomes were realized in the Craft and Farm Market AGM,” wrote Hailey Ross, the organizer of yesterday’s protest, in the Facebook group Citizens in Support of a Fair Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market. “Moving forward there is a committee exploring options for a second market. We’ll stay in touch with everyone via this group and notify you of any future opportunities to collaborate.”
Her post followed the closed-door AGM of the farmers market where many of the protesters hope Wild Flight Farm would be allowed back into the market.
“I really value having this produce brought to Revelstoke and it is where I get the bulk of my food. I buy all of my vegetables through Hermann,” said Gabe Taylor. “I feel he’s been unfairly persecuted by the board who didn’t give him an opportunity to go through the process of applying and getting into the market the way that everyone should be entitled to do.”
In contrast, only four people showed up to show support for the market’s board of directors, who made the decision to revoke Wild Flight’s membership.
Photo: Jenn McLafferty, the co-owner of Monashee Spirits, attended the demonstration because she supports Wild Flight, and because her distillery was denied the opportunity to join the market.
People gathered inside the community centre on Saturday, Apr. 8, at 10 a.m. ahead of the farmers market AGM, which started 30 minutes later. They held up signs showing support for Hermann & Louise Bruns, the owners of Wild Flight Farm, and waved red flags.
“The idea is to demonstrate there are a number of red flags with regard to the governance of this organization, that demonstrate they’re not behaving in a democratic way, they’re not behaving in a transparent way, and that’s telling us something’s wrong,” said Hailey Ross, who organized the protest.
Outside the community centre, four people held up signs in support.
“They’re following the rules and I don’t think the public has the full story,” said Tanya Beale, who’s mother Inge Anhorn was on the board of directors. “I think they’re only going by one side of the story. They need to check their facts and listen to the whole thing.”
Photo: Four people in support of the market gather outside the community centre to show their support for the board of directors.
Several people inside said they were disappointed the board removed Wild Flight from the market without consulting the membership as a whole.
“I think it’s the lack of democratic process that is the most frustrating,” said Kendra Von Bremen. “It started being don’t mess with my food but now it’s about due process.”
The market’s meeting was closed to the public and lasted for several hours. The Review contacted several members of the market, including Tamaralea Nelles, the president of the board, but has not received any responses.
Photo: The farmers market AGM was closed to the public.
Before the meeting, Hermann Bruns said he was waiting to find out the results of the meeting before deciding what to do next. He said he preferred there was only one market, but also wanted to see changes in governance if he was invited back.
“I want to see a real process to review the bylaws and the policies and make sure they’re going to be more democratic and inclusive of the community,” he said.
As for starting a second market, he said he would look at that depending on the outcome of the meeting.
“It’s certainly something we would consider. There’s already this much support. People will probably want to have that,” he said. “If we can’t affect change from within, we’ll probably create an alternative.”