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Farmer's Market can't hit goal when unnexpected

The recent article in the Advocate of Hampstead and Manchester regarding the turnouts at the Hampstead Farmer's Market stated that to achieve their attendance goal of 15,000 "every resident of Hampstead – 6,323 based on the 2010 census – would have to attend at least twice." I am not sure if I am more upset than angry or more angry than upset. It is nice to have the wide variety of merchants and products available to buy from local merchants however, the Hampstead Farmer's Market is not accessible to every resident of Hampstead. While they do have handicapped parking, there is a portion of the Hampstead population that is unable to attend the market resulting from having it on a grassy, non-paved surface. I have written and e-mailed the Hampstead Farmers Market multiple times over the last several years. The responses I have received were either "the vendors don't want to be on the macadam – it's too hot", or this year's response – "I will bring it up at our next meeting". The latter e-mail was prior to their opening in 2014. I have received no further communication from them. I am not sure how the ADA regulations apply to an association like the farmer's market; however, I do know that Title III of the ADA requires outdoor events to have a paved walkway to each and every vendor. For those of us with walking disabilities and/or in a wheelchair, navigating on grass is not an option. There are two weeks of the market that are held at another location due to the carnival. All but one of those years have been on a macadam surface which makes it accessible to all. Until such time that they become accessible for all, those of us that have been excluded will continue to visit the neighboring farmer's markets that have opted to accommodate people of all abilities.

Wendy Felty


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