The U.S. Postal Service has told the Dunwoody Green Market that it needs the parking lot where vendors operate on Wednesdays eight months of the year and that the market will have to find a new home.
The financially troubled agency is closing the Dunwoody Carrier Annex at 4444 North Shallowford Road and is moving those operations to the Dunwoody Post Office. That move will begin on Friday, May 18, according to a supervisor at the North Shallowford Road address who referred further questions to the main Atlanta Post Office. Officials at the main branch did not return a call requesting comment.
The popular Green Market’s last day at the current location will be Wednesday, May 16, said Paula Guilbeau, market president.
“We’re waiting now to see where we will land,” Guilbeau said.
She’s said she is hoping that a new home can be found quickly and that the market will not be shut down during the search period.
City leaders are working with the Green Market on potential alternate site options and are seeking to arrive at a consensus as quickly as possible, said Bob Mullen, city spokesman.
“Once a consensus on a new location is reached, the appropriate measures could be put in place fairly rapidly,” Mullen said in an email.
It is not clear if a new location can be found by May 23, the first Wednesday the market can’t operate at the Post Office location.
Two options are Dunwoody Park where the baseball fields are located and Brook Run Park, according to Mullen.
Of the two, Guilbeau said she would prefer Dunwoody Park because it’s just a mile from the present site.
Zoning should not present issues for the Green Market’s use of city park space because that usage would fall under the city's ordinance for parks, according to Mullen. Neighborhood reaction and school traffic patterns, however, could be factors. The seasonal market is open on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon from mid-April to mid-November.
“We’ll just have to wait and see where we land and take it as it comes,” Guilbeau said. “It’s out of my control.
“We hope the community will support us wherever we land. We have been attractive to young families moving into the area and they are a driving force for us.”
The order to vacate took the Market's board and the city government by surprise.
“We were not given an actual written notice from the Post Office,” Guilbeau said in an email. “A Post Office supervisor stopped by the market on opening day and 'mentioned' to a vendor that the carrier office was closing and they needed their parking lot back,” Guilbeau continued.
“After doing some calling to the Post Office to verify the statement with the postmaster, I was told by the same supervisor, that yes, they were moving from the North Shallowford office and needed their parking lot by May 18.”
Post 4 City Councilman Terry Nall was at the market last week when he said several vendors asked him about the order to vacate. “I was there just on a lark to shake hands and say ‘thank you’ to the vendors,” he said.
After several vendors asked him about the “vacate by” order, he contacted City Manager Warren Hutmacher to ask him about the Postal Service decision. He said that Hutmacher was not aware of the order, but quickly confirmed its accuracy.
“A green market takes a city and makes it a community,” Nall said. “As a city, Dunwoody has a history of supporting the Green Market because of the quality of life it brings to the city.”
The irony of this change, Nall said, is that the Post Office once wanted to close the Dunwoody Village facility and go to Shallowford to add retail to the sorting operations there.
The Green Market is a producer-only market, which means that vendors must make or grow what they sell.
Items vendors sell include seasonal vegetables, fruits (including hard-to-find heirloom varieties), locally produced honey, and free-range eggs (chicken and duck). Beef, pork, and poultry, including heritage breeds and cured meats (bacon, sausages). All of the produce vendors grow using organic methods and most are designated as "certified naturally grown" or "organic."
A variety of artisans, bakers and unique food purveyors also have stalls at the market.
This will be the fourth move for the market. It began operating at the Spruill Gallery in 2006 and stayed there until 2008. It moved to Saint Patrick’s Church for a few weeks in 2009 and then shifted to the Post Office parking lot in Dunwoody Village.
In other gardening news …
The Dunwoody Community Garden needs your help to win one of 17 orchards that will be awarded nationwide by Edy’s Fruit Bars. The garden is in strong contention to be one of the winners. But, this is a national vote, and the competition is fierce.
Support the garden by voting. Once on the site, just follow the prompts to vote. A voting shortcut is to go to the "Leaders" tab on the main page. You can access the Dunwoody garden voting site from there as long as the Community Garden is one of the top vote getters. Remember, you can vote once-a-day on each email account you have. Voting ends August 30.
The first round winners will be announced May 31.
When registering, you will need to create a password. Some people have expressed concerns about whether this will cause security problems for their personal or business email accounts. Voting registration allows you to create a password that is different from your email password.
Georgia Organics is hosting a unique, hands-on workshop to teach DeKalb County school teachers how to easily integrate farm-to-school activities into curriculum and Georgia Performance Standards.
This will be an on-farm workshop at Gaia Gardens in Decatur. Topics and activities that will be covered will include food, gardening and nutrition. Curriculum will include science, math, art, history, nutrition and literature. The agenda will also include a creative brainstorming session with other teachers, a hands-on food demonstration that teachers can replicate in their classrooms and a tour of Gaia Gardens.
The workshop will be held 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 8. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. Directions to Gaia Gardens will be sent to registrants.
To register, email Erin Croom at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (678)- 702-0400.
This workshop is specifically for DeKalb County school educators such as media specialists, physical education instructors and arts teachers as well as administrators. If space permits, Georgia Organics will make room for parents and community volunteers.
Correction: In a recent column about the Dunwoody Green Market, Michele Green was referred to as the market's manager. Her title is director of volunteers. We regret the error.