BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The vendor at the center of the farmers’ market controversy in Bloomington denies all ties to white supremacy.
We sat down with her in an exclusive interview shortly after the mayor held a press conference explaining why the city is suspending the market for two weeks.
Sarah Dye is the owner of Schooner Creek Farm. She denies all accusations of being tied to white supremacy. However, those claims are what caused protesters on both sides of the issue to show up to the farmers’ market.
“As an Identitarian and an American, I am disgusted at the level of lies, misinformation, falsehoods, and intimidation by those who do not know me or my family,” said Dye.
Identitarian is widely defined as a far-right group that campaigns against immigration. Dye defined it as, “a way of viewing the world that emphasizes the importance of identity.”
She said “Btown Antifa,” a group that self-proclaims on Facebook to fight fascism, has been harassing her and her Schooner Creek family at the farmers market.
“I have faith that the Bloomington Police Department will do their job and continue to do it well,” said Dye. “We absolutely reject supremacy in all of its forms.”
Dye is unsure how this became a farmers’ market issue.
“Have you ever pushed your political views at the farmers market?” asked CBS4 reporter Kayla Sullivan.
“No, never. I’m just there to sell produce. As I have been for nine years,” said Dye.
Now, she says she is caught in the middle. The group “Three Percent” reached out to her in response to Antifa’s protests. Dye said she told them police would handle the situation, but they showed up anyway. We talked to the group’s commanding officer, Gary Weddle. He said he and about nine other members showed up in support of the vendor. He did confirm that his group reached out to Sarah Dye after learning about the controversy on Facebook. He said his group has stood up to Antifa in four states, including Indiana.
Weddle told CBS4 his group did not threaten anyone, but he did say he was armed.
“Let me state the obvious, when conflict and tension are at gatherings, it is dramatically more difficult when firearms are present and pervasive,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton.
The city is working on solutions to make the farmers’ market safer. Some vendors think removing Schooner Creek is the best solution.
“They need to get them out of the market. No one feels safe with them there at the market. Two weeks from now, if they are at the market, it’s not going to matter how many police are around,” said vendor Linda Chapman.
But removing Schooner Creek Farm may open the city up to an expensive first amendment lawsuit.
“Maybe that is litigation that needs to be done. Maybe that’s part of all of this white supremacist vs. inclusiveness issue that needs to be aired in the courts,” said Chapman.
Dye feels that would go against the very nature of what should be an inclusive market.
“People come to the farmers’ market to celebrate a community event, to enjoy wholesome food and live music and to leave their differences at home, and that’s what we have done for nine years, and that’s what we plan to continue doing,” said Dye.
We reached out to “Btown Antifa” for comment, but the group said it does not do interviews with the media.