By Dariya Baiguzhiyeva 
BELLEVILLE – Local or not local: that is the question customers might ask when shopping at a farmers’ market.
The handbook for vendors at Belleville’s farmer’s market  states that resellers are not allowed but that vendors may, with the permission of the market’s manager or the city clerk, sell others’ products – preferably those of a relative or neighbouring farmer. The maximum amount of resold items is 35 per cent of the vendor’s product line.
Clifford Hoster, the director of the market, says that reselling products from the Food Terminal shouldn’t be tolerated, but produce from neighbouring farms fits within the rules.
Neal Lockwood, a farmer who sells fresh produce at the Belleville market, says that if customers are wondering where the fruits and vegetables come from, all they have to do is ask.
“We are all hard-working people. There’s nothing to hide, nothing to lie about,” he said.
But for some customers that isn’t enough.
Saying she wants to support local farmers by buying local produce, Eden Oterholm of Foxboro started an online petition  last month calling for several changes at the market to ensure transparency. Oterholm, who raises bees as a hobby and used to work on commercial farms, is petitioning the city and Jackie Tapp, the president of the market, to:
- Define the use of the word “local” in the vendor handbook.
- Clearly label resold products as well as products from outside the Bay of Quinte area.
- Review current vendors and make sure they comply with the 35-per-cent rule.
- Diversify goods by offering a wider range of products.
- Cut down the amount of reselling over time.
The petition currently has over 300 signatures.
In her letter to the city, Oterholm says she has had misunderstandings with farmers because of the word “resell.”
“Some vendors have stated they don’t resell, (but) when questioned further they sell products grown on other farms by other farmers,” the letter says. “However, because it isn’t from the terminal in Toronto or another wholesaler, they don’t identify their products as reselling.”