Kailua farmers market forced to relocate after DOE complaints
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After more than six years, the Kailua Town Farmers Market has to find a new home.
This Sunday will be the last time the farmers market is held on the Kailua Elementary School campus.
Market organizers say they’re still trying to finalize plans for a new location after receiving notice from the school principal that this would be their final weekend.
According to Market Director Pamela Boyar, the Kailua Town Farmers Market has become a thriving staple for the community on Sunday mornings.
She says it takes at least 60 days to grow a crop, and without this market, the 12 farmers and 10 other vendors who participate will suffer major financial losses.
According to Boyar, this market provides over half of their gross annual income for the locally owned and operated small businesses.
She says recent California market surveys indicate for every dollar spent at a farmers market, $3 are spent in the outlying area, making the market a large, sustainable boost for the local economy.
However, at the beginning of August, Boyar says she received word from the Kailua Elementary School principal that the farmers market would need to find a new home.
Officials with the Department of Education say accommodating the farmers market on campus has “proved to be disruptive” and claimed facilities fees have gone unpaid and sufficient proof of insurance coverage for vendors was not provided.
In a statement sent to Hawaii News Now, a DOE spokesperson said:
There have been numerous facility issues in recent months where our bathrooms, grass areas and parking lot have been damaged. Our custodial staff were dealing with oil spills in the parking lot weekly along with chalk and paint markings that require significant cleaning each week. We believe it is in the best interest of Kailua Elementary to discontinue hosting the Kailua Farmers Market at this time given the persistent issues. We wish them well in finding another location.
The Farmers Market Director said she was stunned by the accusations made against them — and while she admits there has been issues in the past with oil spills in the parking lot, she denies other allegations.
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