Soured on the Farmers Market

Dear loyal customers of Tom Cat’s Lemonade,
I am sad to announce that after seven years of serving you and your children, I have not been accepted into this year’s Durango Farmer’s Market. I know many of you have enjoyed my lemonade and specialty drinks over the years, as we could all see with the long lines at my stand. It has truly been a pleasure getting to know all the families that have regularly come to purchase my beverages.

I was given the following reasons for my denial:  your product was not locally grown, we don’t have the physical space for you anymore, duplication of existing vendors, and my past performance. I’d have to agree that my lemons and limes are not raised and harvested locally. However, I have been the only fresh squeezed lemonade and fresh brewed iced tea stand at the market. I believe their reference to my past performance was my disagreement with the board regarding their unwillingness to open up the many empty spaces every Saturday at the market to the rest of the community, like artists and craftspeople wanting to display their work. The DFM’s governing board is made up only of agricultural venders; nonagricultural venders have no real voice.

When I first started at the market, I suggested the possibility that non-ag vendors be represented on the board. I was quickly reminded that the food vendors, artists, craftspeople, bakers, or any of us “others” would never have any real voting voice at the DFM. We were just “invited guests” and not to ever assume admission into the market each year. In other words, keep your suggestions to yourself or you might not be invited back, even if you have the most popular, busy stand at the market.

So my coming out and saying they were being selfish with the open available space was probably what ended my Lemonade stand at the DFM, along with not having local produce in my lemonade. I have now been labeled “negative” and “toxic” by the board for my continued advocacy of a more well-rounded market.

   I will still be vending at the Telluride Farmers4 Market every Friday, where the markets governing board includes full representation of all the different vendors in the market. The TFM board is made up of a baker, an artist, a food vendor, a vegetable producer, a fruit vendor, a beef producer, and even a “non-vending” member of the community. All the vendors have representation on the board; a more democratic approach. Returning venders establish seniority and aren’t simply replaced at the whim of the board.

  I can’t help but feel somewhat used by the few agricultural vendors who have over the years taken control of the market. They need our presence – the artists, massage therapists, crafts, ready-to-eat food, music, coffee, and baked goods vendors. We all help create a diverse, attractive and well-attended market so they can sell their veggies and beef, yet we’ll never be considered more than just “invited guests.”

  If anyone in Durango has the desire to start a “community market” with all the different types of vendors having an equal voice and value, I’d like to be involved.
– Sincerely, Tom Cramer, 946-5407                             

Vote Dance for sustainable energy

To the editor,
LPEA is a community-owned cooperative, which means if you get a bill, you can vote! We have until 4 p.m. on Wed., May 21, to return ballots, so get those in the mail! 

As someone who is concerned with climate change and the daily news stories on sea levels rising, ocean acidification, higher temperatures as well as increased threats of drought, fire and floods, I want to vote for an LPEA Board member who is concerned with bringing more renewable (wind and solar) energy sources to our community. 

I live in District 4 (north valley) and am excited to place our family vote for Alison Dance. Alison is a local small business owner, a local employer and someone who cares about making our county the most sustainable community it can be. Having Alison Dance on the Board will help keep our energy sustainable, local and affordable. She will work to buy less dirty coal, bring more renewable energy jobs to community residents and keep our energy dollars local by working to keep more of the over $72 million we pay each year for electricity in our county.

I encourage you to vote for Alison if you live in District 4. If you aren’t sure what district you are in, check out the LPEA website at: and remember to get your ballot in by May 21!
– Anna Peterson, Durango                

Have your say on vacation rentals

To the editor,
A vitally important issue regarding the allowance and number of vacation rentals within the Durango city limits is currently being decided by the Durango City Council.

There are several proposals being debated, and one will be selected to be included in the new Land Use and Development Code.

The vacation rentals would be allowed in the neighborhoods of downtown Durango, the Third Avenue Boulevard, and neighborhoods on the avenues on the east and east sides of Main Ave., all the way up north. The neighborhoods running north along the avenues are labeled as “Established Neighborhood 1” and “Established Neighborhood 2,” or EN 1 and EN 2.

Several of the proposals would allow many more vacation rentals to exist in these historical residential Durango neighborhoods. The decisions that are made now will affect the nature and environment of our neighborhoods forever.

Considering that Durango has long suffered an inadequate amount of housing, and a severe shortage of housing options for our permanent residents, it is very important that all residents living within Durango city limits have an opportunity to express their thoughts on the proposed vacation rental issue.

Please keep in mind the importance of maintaining a healthy balance and a safe and peaceful environment in our long established residential neighborhoods.

Even if you do not reside in one of the neighborhoods currently being considered for additional vacation rentals, you do have the right to give City Council your thoughts and feelings. Residents of all neighborhoods in the city may write or email  City Council.

It is best if written comments are received by Council no later than 4:30 p.m. Mon., May 19. You may also attend the public hearing and present your thoughts to City Council at the meeting on May 20, 6:30 p.m., at City Hall.

Check durangogov. com/city council/calendar  on Fri., May 16, for any changes to the time of City Council meeting on the 20.

The proposed new Land Use and Development Code, and the vacation rental proposals, may also be viewed at

The future of all of our wonderful Durango residential neighborhoods is at stake here, and property owners and residents deserve to have a say in that future.

Our long established neighborhoods have many more similarities than differences, and we can all work together to preserve the great neighborhoods that we enjoy.

We need to support the proposal to limit the vacation rentals to no more than 3 percent in any given neighborhood; to exclude clustering of vacation rentals; and to insist that there be strict and consistent enforcement of the code by city officials.

Thank you all for your insight and your help with this important issue.
– Paula Akin, Durango


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows