Old Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is the Rose Hill Farm Stop for?
    • The Rose Hill Farm Stop is for everyone in the community.  We seek to build a welcoming, inclusive, and diverse local food gathering space for the vendors, customers, staff, and neighbors.  If you have suggestions or ideas for ways that we can improve our store and make it more approachable or accessible, please let us know!  
  1. When will the store be opening?  What are the store hours?
    • We opened on August 5, 2021.  To start the store hours will be 8:30am-6:30pm daily!
  1. What work are you doing to address racial inequity in the food system?
    • We recognize that food systems are complex spaces that connect to many social issues, including racial equity.  There are several ways we are working to address this important area.  To start, in January 2021, the majority of our Board members completed an “Uprooting Racism in the Food System” training with Soul Fire Farm, “an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system.” Some topics covered in this workshop included a history of racial oppression in the US food system, reflection on privilege, bias, and decision points, and review of an organizational equity rubric.
    • In follow up to this training, we developed our own multi-year equity action plan, with several steps already underway.  For example, we prioritize accepting beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers (as defined by the USDA) as members in the cooperative, to assist in increasing market access opportunities for these underrepresented populations.  We also offer work-trade opportunities and sponsorship opportunities that waive the $300 annual co-op membership fee for farms who feel that the fee would create a significant economic hardship for their business.  Going forward, plans are in place for the board and staff to continue learning about racial equity food system issues and we are actively working to increase diversity in our vendor representation, board leadership, employee hiring, and customer base through community outreach.  If you have additional suggestions or ideas for work that can be done to build a more inclusive and diverse food gathering place, please let us know
  1. What work are you doing to make local food accessible to low-income individuals and families?
    • We have three food access objectives.  First, we accept SNAP payments in our store.  Second, we offer a SNAP matching program, where SNAP customers can double the value of their SNAP dollars when shopping in our store.  Finally, for surplus products that we are unable to sell, we have connected with the Farm to Family Fund, a Bloomington non-profit organization that purchases “healthful, sustainably produced food” from local farmers and makes it available to low-income households.  We are exploring options for them to purchase surplus food from our vendors at a discounted rate and then donate these items to area food pantries as well.
  1. What kinds of food justice and social justice projects is the Rose Hill Farm Stop working on?
    • The project and mission is inherently food justice oriented by empowering farmers with greater ownership of the food distribution system and providing a place where consumers can access local food on a daily basis.  The primary focus towards this end is launching this new farm stop outlet and helping farmers to capture a larger market share of community food spending. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, when consumers buy food at any corporate grocery store, restaurant, or other mainstream food outlet, farmers receive an average of just 14.6 cents for every dollar spent.  In our farm stop model, farmers own the store where they are selling, they set their own prices, and they receive a 75 cent return for every dollar spent.  Beyond this fundamental mission-focused work, our food justice efforts also include:
      • Prioritizing beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged (as defined by the USDA) vendors and their products.
      • Accepting SNAP payments and eventually offering a SNAP doubling program. 
      • Launching an online platform to connect institutional food buyers with small local farmers.
      • Offering community cooking classes and demonstrations in our store.
      • Creating new retail jobs with living wages.
      • Donating unsold products to area food pantries.
      • Using any store profits, beyond those needed for building improvements or expansion, to create a grant program to launch new local food system projects or to benefit beginning farmers.
  1. Are any Rose Hill Farm Stop vendors affiliated with white supremacist hate groups?
    • To our knowledge, the RHFS does not have any vendors affiliated with white supremacist or any other hate groups.  Our vendor policies clearly state an objective to create a local food space where all can feel welcome and safe. We particularly aim to sustain an environment inclusive of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people in our community. Vendors are expected to act in a courteous, respectful, and honest manner with customers, fellow vendors, community members, RHFS Board representatives, and staff at all times.  Failure to comply with these basic expectations will not be tolerated and may result in rejection of vendor applications or immediate revocation of existing vendor licenses, at the Cooperative’s sole discretion.
  1. Won’t the Rose Hill Farm Stop create unfair competition for already established local food outlets in town, like farmers’ markets and Bloomingfoods?
    • We support all farmers markets and local food outlets in Bloomington and believe these wonderful spaces do incredibly important work in our community.  However, of the more than $800 million Monroe County residents spend on food every year, less than 1% currently goes to local farms in our region and state. The Rose Hill Farm Stop seeks to expand the infrastructure for local food in our community, to make it easier for farmers to sell their products and for consumers to buy it.  The goal is not to compete with any of the existing local food outlets in towns, but to increase the percentage of resident food spending that goes to local farms.  Farmers should be able to earn a viable livelihood from feeding their communities, and we believe that the farm stop model will play an important complement to area farmers markets and other food coops.  
  1. Is the Rose Hill Farm Stop affiliated with the City of Bloomington? 
    • RHFS has received grant funding from the City of Bloomington’s Recover Forward Program as well as start-up project facilitation support from the City’s Local Food Coordinator, but we are otherwise a fully independent organization.  More information about Recover Forward and the many projects this funding supports, is available here.
  1. Who owns the Rose Hill Farm Stop?
    • RHFS is owned by a non-profit agricultural cooperative, the Bloomington Farm Stop Collective.  Membership in the co-op, as required by Indiana law, is made up of all farm vendors selling through the store. The farmers are the owners.
  1. Who is on the board of directors? 
    • Our Board of Directors currently includes Joe Brumley from Woods Edge Farm, Jonas Carpenter from Mavourneen Farm, Mike Record from New Ground Farm, Salem Willard from Bread and Roses Gardens, and Stephen Stoll from Rising Moon Acres.  There have been numerous other people involved in the board since the beginning of this project, including women and people of color, but our current team does lack diversity.  This is an area of organizational weakness that we recognize and have been working to address.  In late 2021, we will hold democratic elections, where our member farms will vote to select a new board of directors.  This fall we will devote substantial time to board candidate recruitment and diversification.
  1. Where did the funding for this project come from?  What is the money supposed to be used for?
    • We have received funding from the following sources:
      • $188,000 grant from the City of Bloomington Recover Forward Program
      • $18,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County
      • $10,000 facade grant from the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association
      • $7,500+ from farm membership dues
      • $50,000 equipment loan from CoBank
    • All of these funds were allocated to cover start-up expenses for this project, including legal fees for incorporation and co-op bylaw development, building security deposit and renovation costs, equipment purchasing, and initial staff expenses. 
  1. Was some of the funding supposed to be used to start a BIPOC incubator?
    • No, the funding we have received was all intended to be used for the start-up and launch of the Rose Hill Farm Stop.  We have used the funds according to the grant guidelines.  The City of Bloomington does have some different Recover Forward funding allocated to explore the possibility of starting an incubator farm for beginning farmers that would provide free or low-cost access to land, tractors, waterlines, greenhouse, cooler space, and other farm equipment.  That is a separate City of Bloomington project, however, and has nothing to do with the Rose Hill Farm Stop. 
  1. Who can be a vendor at the Rose Hill Farm Stop? 
    • Currently vendor applications fall into two categories:
      • Farm vendors include any individual or business that engages in the production of agricultural products, including horticultural, viticultural, forestry, dairy, livestock, poultry, bee, and any other farm product.
      • Non-farm vendors include any individual or business that engages in the production of food products using ingredients they did not grow or raise themselves.
  1. Are there different consignment rates for different vendors?  What are these consignment fees used for?
    • Farm vendors pay a 25% consignment fee for every item purchased in the store.  Non-farm vendors pay a 30% consignment fee.  So if a customer buys a $10 farm product at RHFS, we keep $2.50 and pay the farmer $7.50.  Similarly, if a customer buys a $10 non-farm product, we keep $3.00 and pay the vendor $7.00.  Consignment fees are used to cover the cost of operating the store, including rent, staff wages, utilities, building & equipment maintenance, store supplies, and more.  Sales from the cafe area subsidize the operation so that vendors can receive these higher margins for their products.  
  1. Do you accept artists and craft vendors?
    • To start, focus has been placed on vendors who grow or produce food.  We recognize the important role that artists and craft vendors play in the economy and the Board of Directors is exploring the possibility of accepting other types of vendors in the future.
  1. How will the store be arranged?  Will each vendor have their own booth?
    • Rose Hill Farm Stop will look and feel like a small grocery store.  Products will be arranged by type, so all the tomatoes will be in one area, all the ground beef in another, with vendor specific signage to make clear which farm every product comes from.  Vendors will make regular deliveries to the store and sell on a consignment basis, with RHFS staff selling food and farm products on behalf of the vendors.
  1. How was the building location chosen?
    • In fall 2020, we worked with a commercial real estate agent to locate a building that met the criteria listed below.  We looked at numerous available properties around Bloomington and were fortunate enough to come across the space we have leased at 902 West Kirkwood Avenue.
      • Somewhere interesting & cool that people would want to spend time
      • In a neighborhood/area where people walk to other destinations
      • Available parking, plus space for a very small seasonal greenhouse or garden center
      • Natural light
      • Plumbing & electric capacity to accommodate the equipment needs for our grocery and cafe
      • Large enough for our business plan, with space for a grocery display, cafe, walk-in coolers & freezers, dry storage, food prep, and community meeting room
      • Within a budget our business plan could afford
  1. How was the name Rose Hill chosen?
    • Choosing a name was a hard task.  We wanted something that connected to the geography or history of the neighborhood and could also be related to our mission.  We did some research, contacted the Monroe County History Center, looked at old GIS records, and polled our farm vendors.  In the end, we chose to name our store in reference to the Rose Hill Cemetery because of its proximity to our building–literally catty corner across the street–and because of the name’s connection to nature.  Roses used to grow wild in the cemetery and can be found growing wild on many area farms.  In future years, we hope to have additional farm stop locations that can be named in connection to the place or neighborhood where they are located.  
  1. Is the Rose Hill Farm Stop an ADA accessible facility?
    • Yes!  We have worked with a local architect to design ADA accessible parking, entrances, walkways, and bathrooms.  If you visit our store and see ways to improve our accessibility, please let us know!