The latest ‘complaining white woman’ brouhaha comes from Livermore, where a farmers' market crackdown on Pride flags has led to the director’s resignation and a suspension of the event.
I’m not a big farmers' market person (unless there are baby goats involved), so I’m just now learning that farmers' markets are often not managed locally, but by larger regional “farmers' market associations.” I learned this because of the latest ‘Karen’ confrontation viral video, shot during an incident at the Livermore Farmers' Market on Sunday, June 7, wherein a gay cookie booth proprietor was handing out mini Pride flags for free. This simple act drew the berating wrath and a demand to quit it from the market’s operator, the California Farmers' Markets Association (in video seen below) and also drew unwanted headlines like the Bay Area Reporter story "Bay Area farmers' market operator bans Pride flags."
That’s not a good headline to have during the Pride Months of June, and now KRON4 reports that the woman in the video, California Farmers' Markets Association executive director Gail Hayden, has resigned amidst the uproar. That did not end the blowback, as KPIX adds that the city of Livermore has broken off their relationship with the California Farmers' Markets Association and that “operation of the Livermore Farmers’ Market has been suspended” until a new management entity is brought in.
Livermore Pride captured the entire incident in the video above, given the very bad timing (for Gail Hayden, at least) that the executive director of Livermore Pride happened to be standing right there.
“This is Disneyland, so you can't talk to us this way,” executive director Hayden complains to Dan Good Cookies owner Dan Floyd. “Nobody else has flags, that should have been a clue. I don’t care what the flags are for. That has nothing to do with anything.”
“You need to go read the rules, and read the section about cooperating with market management,” she continues to bitch. “The fact that you haven’t read the 30 pages [of rules] is disturbing to me. Read the rules.” (Per KRON4, those rules only prohibit “petition and flyer distribution”).
The obligatory Change.org petition popped in response, and the city Livermore dumped the California Farmers' Markets Association the day after the video gained traction in local media reports. The association has also issued an apology on its website.
As for the jilted bakery Dan Good Cookies, KGO reports they are “overwhelmed by community support.” Owner Dan Floyd wrote on his website that “I have brought on help to deal with the influx of orders, and even that won't be enough because I can only produce so many cookies in a given amount of time with my current equipment.”
According to the Bay Area Reporter, the California Farmers' Markets Association runs three farmers' markets here in SF — though the website listing them has been disabled. But according to the Wayback Machine, these would be the one at the Crocker Galleria downtown, and two at Fort Mason. (Breathe that sigh of relief, Castro, Ferry Building, Noe Valley, and Divisadero Farmers Market shoppers.)
As mentioned above, the California Farmers' Markets Association executive director is now out of a job. Tough cookies, lady, but running a chain of farmers markets, well, it’s actually not exactly Disneyland.
Related: Most Farmers' Markets to Remain Open as Essential Services During Lockdown Period [SFist]
Image: Livermore Prode via Facebook