Local Lawmakers Work Together to Keep Farmers Market Operating in North Tonawanda

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By: Staff

At a time when there are so many stores, businesses, and livelihoods effected by the COVID-19 pandemic, public officials in North Tonawanda fought this past week to preserve a small sense of normalcy for residents.

“With everything that is going on,” said Legislator Jesse Gooch, “it was important to myself, County Legislators Rich Andres and Randy Bradt, and Mayor Pappas for residents to be able to enjoy the Farmer’s Market to buy produce.”

Prior to Legislator Gooch, Legislator Andres, and Mayor Pappas advocating for the continuation of the farmer’s market, there were no plans for it to happen given the state of emergency declared by Niagara County, the City of North Tonawanda, and the workforce reduction ordered by Governor Cuomo. Ultimately, permission was given for the market to continue.

The biggest concern, said Legislator Gooch, was ensuring public safety.

“As of 3:00p.m. on Friday evening the farmers market was going to be closed due to concerns of COVID-19,” said Gooch. “Although public health and safety are a legitimate concern, I believe food is as well. Grocery stores remain open and I feel that with some changes we could keep the city market open while keeping vendors and customers safe. Some of the changes we discussed were limiting the number of vendors, keeping them separated further, practicing the six-foot rule, and no congregating.”

Gooch was confident that all of their ideas could work.

“If those things happened it would be a win-win for local farmers and consumers,” said Gooch. “I happened to shop there this Saturday and was pleased to see the social distancing being practiced.”

 

 

The Farmers Market, located on Robinson Street, is a staple in North Tonawanda for residents and people across Niagara County for fresh produce and other products.

“I have been a vendor at the farmer’s market for over fifty years,” said Tina Kislack, “and with everything going on it was looking as though the market wasn’t going to happen.”

Kislack told the Niagara Reporter that as a food source the market should have been able to continue operating.

“It’s a good source and a livelihood for many of us,” said Kislack. “There are dozens that depend on that money coming in. With it being a food source we believed it should be open.”

Many of the attendees at the market this weekend were thankful for the vendors being there as well.

“I have never seen so many people saying thank you,” said Kislack, “and none of it would have been possible without Legislator’s Gooch, Legislator Andres, Legislator Bradt, and Mayor Pappas.’

Public officials hope that the market can continue to operate for the sake of vendors and residents.

“The Farmer’s Market is a staple for this City and I am grateful that the vendors had an opportunity to sell their product and residents to purchase it,” said Gooch. “I would also encourage consumers to wear rubber gloves and wash vegetables when you get to your home.”

“We couldn’t have been happier to provide this for our vendors and residents,” said Legislator Rich Andres.”

 

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