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Mpls. Puts The 'Farmer' Back In Farmers Markets

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Ever wonder why a pineapple was being sold at your local Minnesota farmers market? Many have, and Minneapolis revised an ordinance to make sure the markets sell more local food, while still keeping the exotic foods, too.

The ordinance says at least 60 percent of the vendors at farmers markets have to be food growers. That means less vendors and food distributors from outside states.

"One of the key pieces of this change is that our rules will no longer be neutral on the local aspect of farmers markets," said Council Member Cam Gordon, author of the ordinance changes. "Before, someone could organize a 'farmers market' that was all food distributors bringing in produce from California. Under the new rules, at least 60 percent of farmers market vendors will have to be actual farmers, selling the produce they've grown."

The city of Minneapolis said the mini markets that were created in 2007 will be included in the ordinance and will be allowed to have a more flexible vendor mix than they had before, with one distributor, or vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables that don't grow in Minnesota, and one home processor, vendors selling baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles, etc.

The city said that brings a wider variety of fresh and healthy foods into neighborhoods.

Minneapolis also created a new produce and craft market type which can be up to 70 percent vendors of self-made arts and crafts and 30 percent selling food.

The city said the changes create additional flexibility for markets on vendor mix.

To see the entire revised farmers market ordinance, click here, and search Food Code: Public Markets.

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