The hammer fell on the Hale’iwa Farmers Market Friday without even sufficient notice to allow farmers to cease harvesting or food vendors to cease prepping for the Sunday sale, much less to alert customers.
For years, the market perched on a triangle of state land at Kamehameha and the Joseph P. Leong Highways. But in April, the state abruptly ordered the market to cease operations, citing the zoning of the 2.5-acre site as agricultural, not business. Friday afternoon, Abercrombie issued a press release terminating negotiations on an extension at the site, which had been operating on a week-to-week basis.
Monday, farmers and supporters protested along Kamehameha near Hale’iwa.
Market manager Pamela Boyer and business partner Annie Suite had confidently expected at least another week’s extension and were stunned to learn of the governor’s decision via a call from the news media. “We have lost our market,” Boyer said, sadly. The state has suggested three problematic new locations: Wailua Courthouse (too small), Liliuokalani Church (Duh! already busy on Sundays) and Waimea Valley (requiring permitting and costly infrastructure). They’re still seeking alternatives.
Sunday, the women went to the market site to turn away any customers and found it posted with nine “government property” signs. Three police cars showed up–staffed by past customers.
Boyer and Suite deny charges that they’re “making big money” from poor farmers. “We’re here to help the farmers,” said Boyer. “When are we going to stop talking about Local Food for Local Consumption, and take some action to preserve it?”