I didn't get to respond earlier about your comments about the store where rich people shop. I was floored when I realized you were referring to Green Fields Market.
Sure, some of the things there can be purchased at bigger stores for less because they move a bigger quantity, but you can't get a better deal on bulk items.
If you are on a limited budget, you can save a lot and keep packaging out of the landfill by buying rice, beans, grains and other dry goods in bulk.
All the fresh veggies are organic, so of course you can buy conventional for less at another store (in some cases). It all depends on how you spend your money.
As for the disturbances outside, some years ago our manager, Jim made a temporary decision to cover the bench and the membership called a meeting and decided that we, as members, would monitor the situation ourselves. That meant that if there was a disturbance, we would talk to the offender ourselves, or if need be, call the police.
For the most part, I feel that has been working. To remove all the benches in town because of a few offenders, seems like an unfriendly thing to do.
Maybe this has already been addressed, but I didn't have time to comment at the time.
Mike, thank you for your kind words
I remember about 4 years ago we were having these very same comments about Avenue A in Turners Falls. At that time folks were complaining about all the hanging around on the benches and the loss of business at Equiis, Cup of Joe and TF pizza house. Back then everyone was blaming teenagers or young out of work adults. Like many things the story slowly changed and the real corrupts soon appeared.
There were 3 older men who were notorious town drunks. They contributed greatly to the disturbance on Ave A. Living in downtown I have seen a lot of those teenagers grow up and turn into pretty responsible adults. some graduated from college, some play in bands and a few work in town while a few are on a downtown committees like the skate board park and help out with the block party. Those notorious drunks have moved out either through eviction, jail or skipped bail.
I suspect this to will happen in Greenfield. Folks will move on. There really isn't a hell of a lot to do in downtown Greenfield. Over confidence and some poor behavior comes out when a lot of people are hanging out.
I suspect some folks are blaming this on subsidized housing folks that are just hanging around. Those same comments came out because of all the housing in Turners. (power town apts, etc.) I doubt that is a prevailing reason. However government funding forces a percentage of various incomes, ages and disabilities and the old Harco rooms were remodeled with gov. funding. So be careful what you wish for when it comes with gov.funding. Lots and lots of restrictions.
Sorry about the SNAP card comments but I know you can't use those benefits for take out or prepared food of any kind which the co-op does allow. I know I used it twice there a few years ago when I needed benefits for a short time. ( I did not know about that policy until I tried to buy a sub at Food City and that was not allowed) Can you imagine the huge business at subway, TF pizza or Peking gardens if you could use SNAP cards for take out.
I hope this post is a little more kind and gentle. However, I know why I don't post to often. Some folks get pretty huffy.
The amount of bullshit being passed around in this thread is unbelievable.
I've been a patron (and member of) Green Fields Market since 1988, when I was living on a $125/week in wages and splitting my meals between the Wendy's "Superbar" and the free community meals program. I wasn't "rich" then and I'm not now. Thankfully though I do have a lot more income security...for now. You can't take anything for granted. So, I resent the casual agreement that the store's customers are "rich".
Secondly - the benches were built to lure low income people to the store to illegally spend their SNAP benefits on takeout food? Seriously? That is a serious comment? The benches were built when the store was purchased and renovated and they immediately drew the sorts of problems being discussed today. More than once over the years store members have considered just bricking the damn bench in. I'm certainly in favor of that.
Thirdly, the kind of people that spit, swear, fight, get loaded, yell and otherwise make themselves a public nuisance are not representative of people in general or low income people, so stop acting as though this is some kind of class issue. People acting like jackasses should be dealt with. If they are breaking a law, they need to be held accountable. If they are vandalizing private property they should be charged. That's the way our society works. Stop exploiting this situation to make snarky comments about market customers - or rather, the market customers that live in your constipated imagination.
clegg - with all respect (and I _do_ respect you: in my experience, and by reputation, you are a stand-up guy who has been a positive force in the community) I think you are mixing apples and oranges and bananas on this one.
Who cares if "not many of us can afford to shop at" the store making the complaint? Leaving aside whether that's actually true (which would require a better definition of "us"), are you saying that bad behavior in front of a store that caters to rich people is okay? Because rich people deserve to be hassled? Because, as steerpike opined, they "need to re-evaluate how lucky the[y] ARE"? IMHO, bad behavior is bad behavior -- in the boardroom, and on the street. And are these people protesting some sort of class inequality represented by Greenfields Market, or are they just acting out there because the market is kind enough to provide them with benches? (which, I'm guessing, very few of their rich customers actually use.)
No, I guess. The benches are there to lure low-income people to the store, where they can be persuaded to violate the law by using SNAP benefits to purchase take-out food, further enriching the store in question. Well, if that's the case, then somebody should report it to the authorities. Bad behavior takes many forms, and standing around while a crime is being committed is one of its forms. Who was it who said, "The only thing that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good [people] do nothing"? I believe that, and I encourage people to speak up.
But according to the article, the co-op wasn't the only business that thought there was a problem -- they were just the only one willing to go on the record. And the other businesses along that stretch do not sell food, so SNAP benefits are not a factor.
What I got from the article was that there is a problem: bad behavior by people on Main Street who apparently have limited skills (social and otherwise) and limited options on where to hang out. I think that's a problem, and not just in Greenfield but in many other places as well. And I don't think that the answer is more police, although if I were a business owner who was being affected I think my first call would be to the police. But for the rest of us, maybe we can come up with a better answer.
My suggestion is that we encourage the social service community -- any way we can -- to move away from the idea that people with problems ought to aspire to live on their own in single-occupancy apartments,and encourage encourage group-living situations that simulate an extended family.
I had some experience with such a situation more than 50 years ago, and from what I saw it worked very well. It's only flaw was that it was seen as a "step" towards "independent living", so the folks who did well moved on to their own apartments. When they (inevitably, IMHO) moved back (because they found living on their own, without any of their friends around, lonely and depressing), it was seen as their failure, rather than -- as it should have been -- a failure in the mindset that thought they should have moved out in the first place.
I don't really think you are missing much but as noted in previous notes this behavior is in front of a store not many us us can afford to shop at. But do you know that folks that get the SNAP benefits, the replacement for food stamps, get to do take out at this Food store that is complaining so much. I guess it is ok to take SNAP money for take out but they just can't stand those folks otherwise.
BY THE WAY THE USE OF SNAP CARDS IS ILLEGAL IN THE THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS FOR TAKE OUT FOOD..
Just something to think about. I will take your money but later complain about you.
Am I missing something? The Recorder article began by noting complaints about "loud behavior, fights and drunks bothering shoppers and passersby". None of the comments seem to have mentioned these concerns. Are people saying that fighting and bothering passersby is okay if it's done by people who don't make much money, or who live in subsidized housing and aren't allowed to smoke in their apartments?
If so, I respectfully disagree -- I don't believe that sort of behavior is okay, no matter who's doing it. If not, why not a little more respect for the concerns of the business owners who have become frustrated trying to deal with the situation? We can debate whether the best solution is more police or better mental health/addiction services or more benches on other parts of Main Street or free buses to downtown Turners Falls, but can we at least agree that there's a problem?
Clegg, indeed. These are hard times for so many people.
I also did not like the tone of the Co-op manager, citing again the "them" over in the low-income housing. It also bears mention that Mayor Martin (in)famously evicted the residents of the "Jungle," uprooting many of Greenfield's truly homeless.
My beef also extends to the affluent folks of Greenfield and the area, the ones who have occasionally cited feeling "nervous" about going downtown, because they don't feel "safe." I think folks of the upper Valley need to re-evaluate how lucky the ARE to have a thriving downtown in a post-industrial small town. Throughout New England and the country, few such small cities and towns are so lucky to have a People's Pint, a co-op, a movie theater, a department store, local bookstore, local music shops and venues, and arts events. A quick trip east to the centers of Athol or Fitchburg is all they should need to realize just how good they have it, in Greenfield and accept that, yes, lesser-privileged humanity exists, even outside the venerated doors of overpriced, trans-continental, organic kale and intra-affluent-caucasian fellowship that the co-op provides.
Go out and get jobs is not that easy since you have to get jobs plural to afford housing, a vehicle, and the mandatory health insurance. Businesses want you to have reliable transportation to and from work especially for shifts that are completely different than any other business in the area so public transportation can not affordably be made available. You want to buy a car, you need to have had the job for three to six months before they will give you the loan but you have to have the car before you can start your job. Also many of the industrial jobs want you to have specific safety or clothing to start the job like steel toed shoes or in a retail setting to match the color scheme. And on top of this the jobs are part time with varying hours so you have to convince one employer to work around the schedule of the other employer. The days of walking in to a company looking for a job and being hired on the spot are long gone.
Just because somebody is hanging around outside during your working hours does not make that person anything other than a person. They may be employed on a different shift, they may be passing through town to visit old friends, they may be on a lunch break. Without asking you will never know for sure. Treat them like good neighbors and most will respond in kind.
Judge not, lest you be judged.
Some folks seem to be commenting on a recent article in the Greenfield Recorder about homelessness- bums-street urchins on Main Street in Greenfield without having a clue. Not every person hanging around on the street is a " bum". Sometimes, just maybe sometimes bad things happen to good people.
A large amount of home owners/renters/child support dads are just one pay check away from being behind in the mortgage payment or rent and these are those working folks. Just ask me!
Some extra hanging around in Greenfield may have something to do with the fact that there is a "No Smoking" order in many subsidized apartments in downtown Greenfield ( most recently the old Harco Rooms on Main St.) and a no smoking policy in the Veterans Park.
Locally in Turners Falls, the apartments offered through Franklin County Housing Authority are also going to be, (and many already are) non-smoking. So maybe we can expect people hanging around outside the apartments on 3rd street for the Multenbry Apts, the Crocker building on the corner of Avenue A and 2nd Street or the Cultery Apts on 4th Street since these are also subsidized. And what is wrong with that.
I agree with Newbie on this one. The main thing that's changed regarding how the poor and homeless and disabled get by in our society is that we have nicer words to label them with now: homeless instead of beggars, disadvantaged instead of bums. And just like always, we've got politicians pointing at them and blaming them not only for the circumstances they're in but for making the rest of us look bad in the bargain. Why can't they just go get jobs??!! Never mind that we stopped funding all the programs for in-house mental health problems and put everyone out on the streets. Never mind that there are no affordable childcare solutions for single parents. Never mind that companies are not hiring full-time workers anymore, but only part-time hourlies so they don't have to cover sick time or insurance or anything else. Never mind that we're putting less and less money every year into mass transit, public health, public housing. Never mind the unconscionable number of children in poor WORKing familes who go to bed hungry every night. These bums should just go away and stop making things look yucky. We renamed them the homeless now or the working poor and stopped calling them bums so we've done all we can do. Let's stop bugging our "job creators" and drop the whole thing.
Not wanting to stir the pot,but in my Grams day they were called bums.Not a lot has changed but what they get called. Again just pointing out a bit of history and not looking for an arguement. There for the grace of GOD go us....