Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Last week was National Farmers Market Week

-- National Farmers Market Week, August 4th-10th, 2019

I wasn't able to write much last week, because I was preparing for a presentation on an RFP, although it was related to this topic.

I've written posts in the past if you really want to look them up and draw on my experience.

But one little blurb in the Express during the week is worth writing about.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine's 2019 American Fitness Index, DC is ranked #1 in the US in farmers markets per residents.

DC has 57 farmers markets which means that there are 8.2 markets per 100,000 residents.

But I would argue what that means is that DC has too many farmers markets relative to its size, meaning that most farmers markets end up being underpowered.

For example within a two mile radius on Saturday you can go to farmers markets at 14th and U Streets, in Mt. Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Petworth, and 14th Street and Colorado Avenue.  It's convenient for the residents, but not so great for the farmers, who have to represent themselves in multiple markets.  Were people to travel to one market, say in Columbia Heights, likely it could be an awesome market, stronger than any of the five individual markets.

What my experience is with other places is that they have many fewer markets.  Yes that means that people have to go out of their neighborhood sometimes to get to a farmers market.  But at the same time, the likelihood is that the farmers market offerings are much better.

Downtown Salt Lake Saturday Farmers Market
Downtown Salt Lake Saturday Farmers Market.  One of the vendor-sellers is the Salt Lake County Jail, which has a gardening program.

Portland Farmer's Market on PSU Campus
Portland, Oregon

There is no farmers market in DC as good as the Portland Farmers Market or the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market, both on Saturday.  They are huge markets, with an incredible range of offerings, both in fresh and prepared foods, and in supporting innovative offerings, etc.  The Waverly/32nd Street Market in Baltimore also on Saturday is at least as good as the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sundays, and might be a little better.

People at the Waverly Market, Baltimore
Waverly Market, Baltimore.

The Baltimore Farmers Market might not be quite as good as those, but supports a range of pricing including lower priced goods, especially for larger quantities, while the pricing at farmers markets in DC tends to be uniformly high, because "out-of-state" farmers and vendors believe, rightly, that they can charge a lot more when selling to mostly higher income DC residents.

That's why vendors travel many hours to sell in DC, because they can get much higher prices than if they were selling locally.
There is a new farmers market in Petworth on Friday </p><p>evenings
Petworth Market.

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