Will this drive Greenpoint to libertarianism? More corporatism in Brooklyn 

After billionaire developer Bruce Rattner teamed up with billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg to steal land through eminent domain and steal money through development subsidies in the quest to reshape downtown Brooklyn, I suggested Brooklyn’s denizens might start to see government power as the destructive, corrupt thing it is.

Today, I stumble across another story reeking of corporatism from the hip parts of that borough. Turns out, government regulations are quashing independent grocers to the benefit of more established grocers:

The bi-monthly market featured more than 50 artisanal food vendors selling everything from “Anarchy in a Jar” pickled pears to Ghost Chili. Then along came the Times to blow the place up, just like they did with The Yard. Now the Health Department is breathing down the market’s neck, insisting that vendors take food-handling courses and use commercial kitchens.

Many of the smaller vendors say they won’t be able to comply, because commercial kitchens cost as much as $300 to rent for five hours. And there seems to be a feeling that the Health Department’s crackdown is part of a bigger conspiracy to force shoppers back into the arms of corporate supermarkets. One big fan of the market, Elaine Matthias, tells the Brooklyn Paper, “The grassroots activity is a reaction to the presence of big food corporations in health policy so it doesn’t surprise me that the government is putting up a lot of red tape to prevent people from creating foods in their kitchens and bringing it to a public market.”

Instead of the market slated for June 26th, organizer Joann Kim will hold a “Think Tank Potluck” to brainstorm ways to help keep the market in business. A representative from the Health Department will be on hand to talk about the laws, and Council member Stephen Levin will also join the panel.

I wrote last year about federal food safety bills that the big guys love and will kill the little guys. This is how regulation often works.

So, hey, Greenpointers: Come over to the side of liberty. There’s plenty of room here for all the pickled pears, raw milk, and homemade goods you heart desires.

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Timothy P. Carney

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